Hi friends! And most importantly, welcome back!
Before coming to Sweden I never ever heard of Midsummer and it turns out to be a thing! So, if we would have to rank the different holidays, it would be right after Christmas. Or, any other holidays with this type of high importance, that no one would miss.
What is ‘Midsummer’?
Midsummer (Midsommar in Swedish) is one of the most important celebration day in Sweden, and around the Nordics. As you may know, the day light is a pretty important thing here where it is barely getting dark in the summer. The Midsummer celebration happens to be at the peak of day light which is around the 19-25 June, and so this year it is on Friday 22nd June.
Midsummer is a pre-Christian celebration with a lot of pagan elements. It is recognisable by the amount of flowers worn as wreaths or simply in children’s and women’s hair. In addition, Nordics are celebrating this day with an amount of traditional songs, dances and food. One of the most important item of this day is the maypole which is risen during the day. Families and friends are usually meeting to dance around, sing or chat.
What can one do?
- The first thing you hear from Swedes or people that have been living here for a bit is… Go to your summer cottage or to the archipelago! Which I believe is a great way to celebrate this day with friends and family.
However, if you are like us, and don’t have a summer house, you might want to do something slightly different. Here is a list of things I found in case you have no idea how to spend your weekend!
- Spending the day (or all days) at Skansen. This is a great outdoor museum/zoo, where all the Swedish traditions are retrieved, as well as buildings and living standards. For Midsummer a special program is offered with tons of activities for all age ranges.
- Parks all around the city. Depending on where you live or stay there is a variety of options available to everyone and for all budgets.
It might be important to know that stores and museums as well as a lot of businesses can be closed during the weekend.
What we actually did
So I was super excited about the idea of being in Sweden for this holidays, as last year I was already back home. In addition to that, and as it is a holiday here, I was off on Friday. How cool!
So two options were available to me:
A. Staying at home, under the blanket and watching Netflix (after all it’s a cold and rainy day!).
B. Going out and celebrating.
I believe you know what I picked. So, I decided to get up not too late, get a massive breakfast, pack my camera and go on an adventure! OK. But that’s what I thought it would be the night before. The reality was rain, 9 degrees and wind. The adventure was suddenly not as fun as it was supposed to be. Anyways, I packed my bag and left the house, got to Södermalm around 10 and went to a café for a bit as the funtivities were not starting before 12.
Many options available
My initial plan was to enjoy the celebration in Skansen as it seems to be amazing. Also because the program there was very good to get a good overview of the traditional Midsummer. But since it is an outdoor park/museum, and the entrance is a bit pricy, I opted for the Södermalm option, where Midsummer was also celebrated in Mosebacketerrassen. From what I could find online, this place was “celebrating Midsummer with a twist”. Which I have to admit is very tempting to discover. And to be honest, I was also hoping the place would not be as crowded as others might be.
Well, this was a hope, but what do you expect when it is a national holiday? Yes, of course it was crowded, but how cool it was! Everyone, regardless of age, ethnicity or gender dancing together around the maypole. I have to say that even though the day started by coldness and rain, it ended up being slightly warmer and sunnier. Midsummer is a very interesting holiday, which I can now say I’ve been a part of.
Going to Södermalm was also a good thing as the celebration was more modern, but the main songs and dances were played. The only thing I’ll keep in mind for next year, is either celebrating it in the archipelago or going somewhere. But in both case, being with some friends! The party was on for several hours and I got home late!
As the celebration goes on for the whole weekend, the city was still empty, and shops were still closed, so, we went on another adventure! As Stockholmers tend to be out of the city, we decided to do some more touristy activities, and so discover a bit more of the city we live in!
We went on a boat tour called “under the bridges”, which takes you in different canals and around several islands of the city. More to come about this tours, so just stay tuned! After the tour, we had a nice walk in the empty city and joined fellow Stockholmers in Trädgården to watch the FIFA World Cup game Sweden-Germany. Even if you are not a big football fan, it is always nice to watch a game with other people, because the feeling is, for sure, different than just staying at home!
Today will be a chilled day, fixing what had to be fixednand also getting organized for the incoming week. And the greatest way to end the weekend, is the usual laundry round…
I was also realising, that this should also be part of the things I wish I knew when moving to Sweden…. Here is a list of those things!