Yesterday was Midsummer’s Eve in Sweden which is a pretty big deal since it marks the start of summer. Other than getting together with friends for a party and wearing flower crowns, I didn’t know much about the history. So I did a little research…
Swedish Midsummer – the origins (According to Sweden.se)
In agrarian times, Midsummer celebrations in Sweden were held to welcome summertime and the season of fertility. In some areas people dressed up as ‘green men’, clad in ferns. They also decorated their houses and farm tools with foliage, and raised tall, leafy maypoles to dance around, probably as early as the 1500s. Midsummer was primarily an occasion for young people, but it was also celebrated in the industrial communities of central Sweden, where all mill employees were given a feast of pickled herring, beer and schnapps. It was not until the 1900s, however, that this became the most Swedish of all traditional festivities.
Ever since the 6th century AD, Midsummer bonfires have been lit around Europe. In Sweden, they were mainly found in the southern part of the country. Young people also liked to visit holy springs, where they drank the healing water and amused themselves with games and dancing. These visits were a reminder of how John the Baptist baptised Christ in the River Jordan.
Midsummer Night is the lightest of the year and was long considered a magical night, as it was the best time for telling people’s futures. Girls ate salted porridge so that their future husbands might bring water to them in their dreams, to quench their thirst. You could also discover treasures, for example by studying how moonbeams fell.
Also at night, it was said, water was turned into wine and ferns into flowers. Many plants acquired healing powers on that one night of the year.
Most people make their flower crowns, but since I have no experience or time, I ordered mine at my favorite florist, Blomsterpigan, I wanted to incorporate whites and pinks. She even added some peonies for me which is my favorite flower!
I’m happy I was able to wear a non-maternity dress to our friend’s Midsummer party. I got this dress before I knew I was pregnant at Zara as was happily surprised it still fit! I fell in love with the color. It’s somewhat tradition that it always rains on Midsummer’s Eve, so I thought I’d bring a little sunshine.
The host had asked some of the ladies to bring something extra for the party. So I brought homemade chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting! It turned out pretty good!
We had an amazing day with our friends as we celebrated the upcoming summer season. Midsummer is quickly becoming one of my favorite Swedish holidays!