Midsummer eve.

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Today we celebrate one of our biggest holidays here, well it isn’t a holiday when we are supposed to having a day of from work really. They once decided that the holiday would be on a Saturday and because they thought it would cost too much to give the workers a day of. Kind of useless thinking since both employers and employees don’t want to work this day, so most of us have a paid holiday today anyway πŸ™‚ Even though this celebration origines from the old pagan days we do celebrate it in another way, sort of anyway πŸ™‚


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Back in the pagan days this was a celebration of fertility, to make sure of a good harvest and lots of children in the future. Most probably they drank a lot of beer during the celebrations too. In a way it’s the same since most people drink way to much alcohol and lots of children will be born in nine months from now πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Bonfires have always been popular here but that has changed since then. Now we have the Midsummer pole, a big phallus dressed with birch leaves (and sometimes oak leaves) and flowers. If one is a puritan and extremely christian one could however see it as a cross too πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


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The midsummer pole is usually dressed at midsummer eve’s morning and raised shortly before the dancing takes place. People dance around the pole singing more or less the same songs we sing at Yule πŸ™‚ This is now days mostly for the children but I know lots of adults that loves this too. After the dancing the eating begins and like always it’s pickled herring that is the main course. For us that can’t eat it because it is disgusting πŸ™‚ there will be meatballs and prince sausages πŸ™‚ Well it’s more or less the same things we eat at Yule but no ham. Midsummer was of course a time when the magic beings and powers were extra strong. For instance, the dew collected during this night could prevent all kinds of diseases and if one put that water in the dough while baking the result would be extra good.


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One should stay away from all peonies this night because they believed that peonies had cancer in them and that they could give it to humans during this night. But if one wanted to know who one was going to marry one could pick seven or nine different flowers (depending on where one lived in the country) Β in the evening and place them under the pillow. There were of course rules when picking the flowers, the closer to midnight they were picked the better and one mustn’t talk at all during the picking. It was also important to cross seven or nine fences during the picking (also depending on where one lived).


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If they were unlucky and they could find no flowers there were other ways to dream about ones future spouse, one could eat a salt herring directly from the barrel or eat a porridge made of equal parts of flours, salt and herring. No water was allowed to be drunk so I guess all that salt gave them hallucinations and I think it might have been toxic too πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ The supernatural beings were always dangerous and I guess especially two were more dangerous this night, the wood nymph and the water sprite. Men were lured by the wood nymph’s and the women by the water sprite and I guess all that alcohol both men and women drank made them easy prey for them πŸ™‚ By the way writing about the water sprite, here in Sweden we appoints a water sprite of the year every year. The water sprite always plays the violin here so anyone being able to play the violin and aren’t shy (because he has to be nude sitting is a stream playing his violin when being chosen) can become the water sprite. Today he will be at our national outdoor museum sitting by some water I guess playing his violin during the big Midsummer celebration there. My guess is that he will be sitting by a pond because I can’t remember any stream there πŸ™‚


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Clouds covers the sky and the wind is getting stronger and stronger, thunder storms are on their way. They say it won’t arrive here until 6 pm so we’ll manage to take a couple of walks more before it’s indoors time πŸ™‚

Here comes three different photo’s (via Google photo search) that shows different ways our midsummer poles look.


Have a great day!


8 thoughts on “Midsummer eve.

  1. hi christer! those poles are really pretty! i want to bake bread using swedish morning dew! it sounds magical!!! are you doing anything special for the day? i would stay single rather than eat salted herring pudding…yuck! joyce

    • Hi Joyce!

      Yes they are and they look different oin where they are put up in the country.
      I don’t have enough flour at home, otherwise I would try the morning dew πŸ™‚ We always have plenty in the morning so I think I would get enough for a loaf or two πŸ™‚

      No I’m just at home. This day always make me a bit sad since it’s turning towards winter and darkness again. I’ll watch Grimm later tonight πŸ™‚

      It must have been dangerous to eat either a herring that salty or that porridge, they are called dream herring and dream porridge and I guess it would make a nasty sleep eating either of them πŸ™‚

      Have a great day!

  2. Hi Christer,
    Sounds like a fun celebration in the middle of summer. The poles are great. What happens to them afterwards? Are they left up all summer or do they get burned?
    I like the idea of the water sprite sitting in the stream but I’m not sure most musicians would really want their violins that close to water. It isn’t good for the strings or the wood. Aren’t Swedish streams a little cold this time of year?
    I’m with you on the herring. I’ve had pickled herring and creamed herring. No. I’ll take the meat balls. πŸ™‚
    Today is lovely. It’s sunny and about 79ΒΊF with no wind. It’s a lovely way to end spring. Tomorrow promises to be just a lovely.
    Enjoy the evening.

    • Hi Caryn!
      Tradition saya the pole should stand until autumn returns, bad luck if it doesn’t

      I would think like You but this is actually quite popular amongst musicians. This years water sprite won the titke for the second year in row and it is a great honor. Swedish streams are always cold πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      I just can’t understand how people can eat pickled herring! There are lots and lots of different varieties too and they all taste just as awful πŸ™‚

      The thunderstorms weren’t as bad as they had predicted. Some rain and one time I heard some brumble. I hope the coming low preassures will be just as tame πŸ™‚

      Have a great day!

      • By the way, don’t forget the super moon. It’s Sunday 13:33 your time, I think. But the moon doesn’t rise until after that so you might want to check it out tomorrow night. If you are so inclined, that is, since it is supposed to be the closest it has been in a very long time. Again. πŸ˜€

      • It shows rather early in the afternoon but it’s said to be cloudy so I won’t see it anyway. Good thing I took a photo just minutes ago πŸ™‚

  3. Your flower pictures are absolutely stunning Christer!
    My Finnish Mumma always had pickled herring on the lunch table, with her rye bread and sliced eggs. I never feel like my fridge is stocked unless there is a jar in there! But not the kind with the skin – those are bad πŸ™‚
    Thank you for the entertaining stories!

    • Hi Alice and welcome to my blog πŸ™‚

      Are You the Alice that has made comments here before? No matter, You are just as welcome πŸ™‚
      I did guess that You might have Your roots here in Scandinavia πŸ™‚

      I can’t stand any pickled herring πŸ™‚ But I would love a slice of rye bread with sliced egg on πŸ™‚

      I’m glad You like them πŸ™‚

      Have a great day and welcome back πŸ™‚

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