How Midsummer is celebrated in Sweden

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Find out more from the festival and how the day is spent in true Swedish fashion

You may have heard Midsummer Eve or “Midsommar” mentioned in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and more recently as the time of year for the island getaway in Crimes of Passion. Midsummer is a key date in the Swedish calendar. It is a day that promises to bring joy to families and friends who unite to welcome the start of the Summer holiday period. This momentous occasion always takes place on a Friday between 20th and 25th June. This year, the festivities take place this Friday on the 19th June all through the night until the following day; making Midsummer a gala to remember.

The foreshadowing of the Summer fun is presented with songs around the bonfire during Walpurgis Eve on 30th April. Then the National Day of Sweden on 6th June, which commemorates the election of King Gustav Vasa in 1523 and the Swedish Constitution in 1809, shows how the nation continues to show its pride and sense of community spirit. Midsummer Eve amplifies these group celebrations by returning to the natural landscape. People flock to the countryside leaving the city streets empty and businesses closed for the National Holiday. Instead – picking flowers, making wreaths and dancing around a maypole adorned with the hand-picked flora and fauna.

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Traditional delicacies of food and drink flow in abundance, which include eating copious amounts of pickled herring as well as dishes of sill, new potatoes, chives and sour cream. It is not unusual for flavoured schnapps to wash down the bountiful feasts to make way for the night’s entertainment of music and parties for the older generations to enjoy.

Swedes know when Summer comes to an end as during August the tasty crayfish parties are held and more daring people commit to consuming batches of tinned sour herring at the climax of the season.

Midsummer is a prime example that there is another side to the Scandinavian lifestyle than the quality crime drama on our screens. No matter how irresistibly appealing they have proven to be.

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