Scandinavian summer is bright, beautiful, abundant, but short making Midsummer one of the most favorite and long awaited folk festivals in Sweden. On the longest day of the summer, most swedish residents leave the cities to celebrate Midsummer in the nature, in the manner of their distant ancestors.
In my first year in Sweden I had no idea what Midsummer was all about, and the fact that most places were closed during the holiday made me cross. On my second Midsummer, my husband took us to Sigtuna, a small, but beautiful fairy tale like city which is said to be the first oldest city in Sweden founded in 970. It is this town where I first got to know the festival a bit better, and pretty much liked it. This year, it’s my third and conciously celebrated Midsummer. Namely, now I have better understanding of Swedish culture and traditions which allows me to enjoy the holidays and have fun!
The holiday is celebrated on Friday between 20 and 26 June. Midsommarstång, or maypole, which is the center of celebrations, is decorated with greenery and flowers. It is placed in the most known part in town for people to sing and dance around. The festival starts at around 12:00 p.m when family and friends gather in a chosen park or achipelago. They often bring food with them, have a small picnic, or make flower crowns before actual festivities start. Peope are invited to join the circle around the maypole to sing and dance. Sometimes, a group of people wearing traditional Swedish dress start the festival doing folk dance. One of the famous songs sung during the festival is Små Grodorna (The Little Frogs) when people jump around the maypole pretending to be frogs.
Many, especially newcomers, want to experience holidays to the fullest. They often choose to visit popular destinations with best programs. We, being one of them, initially went to Skansen. But unbelievably long queues, that took people hours to get in, made us change the plan, and head to Vaxholm. It’s a historical archipelago town, with beautiful well-preserved houses. It has a nice park called Lägret where we went to experience Midsummer 2019.