Midsommar in Sweden

Finally we arrived in Vaxjo, Sweden in time for Midsommar.  I’ve found it a bit tricky to write about our experience of Midsommar in Sweden, because I can’t find the words to tell you how happy it made me. A big part of our European road trip has been reconnecting with friends from the past.  When I hatched the plan of Midsommar in Sweden I was actually a bit hesitant, because I hadn’t seen my friend for about ten years and I thought it could be a bit presumptuous to invite ourselves to spend it with her.  As it turns out she and her family were very generous and gave us some of the happiest memories of our trip.

In Sweden, Midsommar celebrations come second only to Christmas celebrations.  There are special foods, special songs and special dances. We started the day with a visit to a local event in a park with a giant maypole.  I joined in with the crowd and did some funny dances involving frog and pig moves as well as doing the washing.  I had no idea what was going on, but it was great fun. Afterwards we basked in the sun while we ate some ice cream. All around were girls and ladies with beautiful flower crowns in their hair. So far, Midsommar was living up to the hype.

We headed back to our hotel room for a rest before the main event at my friend’s parents home, a glorious Midsommar feast.  When we arrived our hosts explained that “first we will eat and then we will eat some more.” And they weren’t wrong. We had two rounds of eating and there was plenty to enjoy. Two types of pickled herring, scrumy potato salad and garden salad, eggs, barbecued meats, fresh bread and more. Our youngest enjoyed the elderflower drink and we enjoyed the beer and, of course, the schnapps, because “herring always needs company,” (in the form of schnapps.) And when we thought we couldn’t eat any more, out came the delicious Swedish strawberry cake, for which you must always use Swedish strawberries, because they are the best. It was so lovely. Created with layers of sweet cream and strawberries sandwiched between meringue. I don’t know how we fit it in, but we all had two servings.

During the day we also learnt how to play the Swedish game of Kubb (see title picture for the equipment).  It’s a lawn game involving two teams, sometimes described as a cross between the games of horseshoes and bowls. Each member of the team takes a turn to throw a wooden baton at the opposing team’s line of blocks. The first team to knock over all the other team’s blocks wins. There are also some other complicated rules that involve a wooden block that is between the teams that has a crown shape carved at the top. These seemed to be a point of constant negotiation, so I never really got a proper grasp of them. It didn’t really matter because it was excellent fun for all.

We have had so many amazing experiences on this trip, but the Midsommar celebrations will always be one of my favourites. To meet such lovely people and reconnect with an old friend makes the world seem so small and wonderful. In fact we loved it so much we hoped to do our own version when we get back home. I wonder if Ikea stock Swedish strawberries?

If you would like to know more about Swedish Midsommar, check out this video aptly titled “Swedish Midsummer for Dummies,” and I challenge you not to chuckle.  It’s from the official website of Sweden, https://sweden.se, that is lots of fun and highly informative.

9 Replies to “Midsommar in Sweden”

  1. Love that Swedish sense of humour 😉 Sounds like the herring were in very good company indeed!

    Glad your hosts took you in so generously so you could bring us along, too. My Swedish knowledge is honestly a bit sparse, so this is my first look into Midsommar.

    1. The Swedish sense of humour is great. I’ve edited the end of the post to include a short video made by Swedes about midsummer that is a case in point. I think you’ll enjoy it, it’s less that 4 min too, so hopefully it can make it onto your priorities list. (;

  2. Count us in for the Melbourne Midsummer celebrations! I can picture everyone dancing round the maypole (I’m imagining you clothesline wrapped in greenery would make an excellent maypole!) I can see the kids (& adults) getting carried away with the frog dance and enjoying some wild sack & egg & spoon races. Bea and Lu would love making the flower crowns. Luckily Swedish Midsummer weather sounds just like Melbourne – sunny with the very possible chance of showers! I’ll bring the schnapps if you make the scrumptious strawberry cake. It’s wonderful to hear you’re having a fabulous time. Look forward to the next update. Best wishes 🙂

    1. Thanks for commenting.(: I feel like we have some pretty big expectations to live up to now though! I guess if we have enough Schnapps we’ll have a great time. (; the girls and you would look lovely in your flower crowns. I’ll have to get practicing my dance moves so we can make it happen. (;

  3. I’m a bit behind, just catching up now. Midsommar sounds completely delightful. It takes a holiday in another country to another level when you get to spend time with generous hosts in their homes, eating their foods, joining in their traditions.

    1. You’re a bit behind! I’m months behind in the blogging! We’ve been a lot busier than I anticipated. So I’m hoping that my notes and photos will be enough to build from when I return. Thanks for leaving a comment. Midsommar was absolutely wonderful and even months later and after seeing many great things, I still look back at it as an extremely special time.

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