Why Midsummer Is The Most Important Day In The Swedish Calendar

Today is the longest day of the year, to us British it’s Summer Solstice. However, in Sweden, they celebrate a slightly different version and one which is full of celebration. Swedish Midsummer or Midsommar always falls on the Friday Eve between 19-26th June, this year it is the 23rd. Celebrations are week long but the biggest of them all is saved for the Friday eve and continues into the official Midsummers day – the party goes on all night so don’t expect any sleep! For the Swedes it celebrates the goodbye of Winter and the welcoming of Summer with it typically being the lightest day of the year with the least amount of darkness–they are much further north than the UK.

MIDS-02331

Apart from Christmas Day this is the next big event in the Swedish Calendar. Everyone finishes work early to escape the cities and start the celebrations from midday in the countryside with family and friends; cue sunshine. Not only is this a huge party for two days but this also marks the start for many Swedish people to take their 5 week vacation, yes you heard me right! It is the norm for everyone to take all their holiday in one go during July, so normal that most companies mandate it too. When can we move to Sweden?

If you are thinking of doing something different this year and want to plan your own weekend celebrations be sure to remember the key bits; Flower crowns (as big as you can get), Schnapps, lots of food and obligatory dancing around maypoles. This might seem like something out of an old folklore tale but this is a big deal and fun, so why not get involved.

THE MENU

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Rye bread with prawn or shrimps – though any kind of open sandwich goes

Pickled anything – Herring is a favourite

Gravalax Salmon

Creamy dill potatoes

All washed down with copious amounts of schnapps!

If you want to go authentic then I highly recommend checking out ScandiKitchen for all your picnic needs. Or even popping to your local Ikea (Yes, that shop at the end of the fun part of the store is full of Swedish delicacies)!

THE FLOWERS

 

Adorned maypoles to dance around- think morris dancing

Festival style headbands (the Swedes have been rocking this longer than us!)

7 different types to take home and put under your pillow to dream about your soulmate/future husband…or so it goes in legendary tales

WHERE

Sweden- Starting from 2pm this Friday until Sunday evening Skansen in Stockholm is the place to go for the biggest celebrations in the city, plus they are all outside. They have a whole weekend full of folk dancing, craft and locally produced food to keep you and the little ones entertained. A real traditional affair.

London- For something slightly more vibrant, why not head to the London warehouse Loft Studios for dancing the night away into the early hours. Starting at 5pm Saturday and finishing around 3am this is guaranteed to be an epic evening with Class Ohlson decorating the venue, welcome drinks on arrival and Swedish restaurant SMAKA putting on food to keep you going all night.

If this has left you yearning for more insights and events in the UK for Swedish traditions, be sure to follow London Swedes on all social media platforms or their website.

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