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 🙂 Even though this celebration origines from the old pagan days we do celebrate it in another way, sort of anyway 🙂
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 🙂 🙂 🙂 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 🙂 🙂 🙂
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 🙂 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 🙂 there will be meatballs and prince sausages 🙂 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.
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) 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).
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 🙂 🙂 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂
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 🙂
Here comes three different photo’s (via Google photo search) that shows different ways our midsummer poles look.
Have a great day!