Midsummer Eve is always the Friday between the 19th and 25th of June. The day usually starts off by picking flowers and making wreaths that go on the maypole, which is a main component in the celebrations.
Midsummer Eve is usually celebrated in the countryside, and the main roads in the countryside or en route, are normally packed. Lines of vehicles spread far into the distance and at the end of the road.
Midsummer is normally an occasion of large gatherings. Family and friends gather, waiting to feast, and usually, a traditional lunch is served in the garden with pickled herring, new potatoes, cured salmon, and drinking snaps followed by a drinking song…. Though this can vary by region and country. The maypole is raised in an open spot and traditional ring dances ensue, to the delight of the children and some of the adults. Teenagers tend to stay out of it and wait for the evening’s more riotous entertainment.
The Christian tradition of celebrating the prophet St. John the Baptist coincides with Midsommar. In the agricultural society, the Midsommar night was considered a time of magic and mystery, plants are picked that obtained healing powers and were used to foresee and foretell the future.
Young women would harvest seven various kinds of flowers and place them under their pillows, in hopes to dream of their future spouses. The flowers have to be harvested in silence, or the magic would be broken.
As Midsommar night turned to dawn, walking barefoot in the dew helped you stay healthy. Having or wearing a wreath of flowers in your hair is an ancient symbol of rebirth and fertility. To sustain the flowers’ magic through the year, the flowers are dried and often placed in the Christmas bath to maintain and keep the family vigorous and healthy through the long, cold winter.
Happy Midsommar festivities, may your bonfires rise high, and may your harvesting of flowers, erecting maypoles, dancing, and feasting with family, friends, and loved ones be joyous, plentiful, and vigor long-lasting!
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