As you probably have heard on Friday the 24th of June is the Swedish midsummer! For me this is a quite new tradition, since in Greece where I am coming from, this is not a common fest, so I am looking forward for this experience!
Midsummer is a celebration taking place in many countries during the summer time, on a day between 19-25 of June. It is related to the summer solstice, and has its roots in pre-Christian times. It is believed that the holiday was a fertility celebration. In Sweden the celebration of midsummer is one of the most important festivities of the year.
According to Swedish friends and other people who had been in Gothenburg for midsummer, the nearest place in town to celebrate is the Slottsskogen. On Friday there will be many festivities taking place at Slottsskogen including dancing, singing and games around the maypole. The fest will start around 16.00.
Another idea is to leave the city center for a short escape in the countryside! You can either rent a car and drive somewhere out of Gothenburg or take the ferry from Saltholmen and visit one of the islands around the archipelago.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget some of the musts for this day:
-Try to make your own krans! The krans is a headband of summer flowers entwined around soft branches and it is the symbol of midsummer. A Swedish tradition says that women should place the flowers under their pillow and they will dream of their future mate. Well, if you ask me, I don’t think this is so likely to happen, but you don’t lose anything to try! If anything you will fall asleep with the nice smell of summer flowers in your room.
-Dance around the maypole! No matter if you have done this before or if it is the first time you will try it, don’t miss the chance to dance around the maypole in the folk sounds.
-Eat some traditional food! The customary dinner on midsummer day includes three-course meal starting with herring, served with crème fraîche and potatoes, followed by beef, chicken and lamb, served with tomato salad and smoked mayonnaise. A common ending of the supper is with fresh strawberries. Even if you don’t go all the way with this dinner, at least try to include some of these ingredients to your meal that day.
So, enjoy midsummer in Gothenburg and lets all hope for a nice summer weather!