Midsummer.

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Midsummer eve, the biggest holiday we have here in Sweden beside Christmas or Yule (Jul, as we spell it in Swedish) as we call it. The only holiday the church never managed to change into a Christian holiday, it’s all pagan and it’s all about magic and fertility. Well it was anyway, now days it’s all about getting nasty drunk and in nine months more babies than usual will be born so that part seems to be the same anyway🙂 We’ve celebrated it for ages but the traditions have of course changed as time has passed. We don’t know much about the old celebrations to be honest and then I mean before Christianity arrived. We do know that they had ritual beer drinking and blot. 

 

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The earliest note about the midsummer pole is from the early 1600 and before that they most likely had huge bonfires, something I’m glad we don’t have now days since fire has a tendency to spread dry summers. The food has of course changed during the years but now days there are some things that is a must to eat. Pickled herring, this od and rather disgusting food is a must at any big holiday here and we who don’t eat it are always looked on as a bit suspicious🙂 Salmon, smoked or pickled is usually on every midsummer smorgasbord too. For us suspicious ones there’s always prince sausages and meatballs and something that has become very popular these last few years is oven made omelet with mushroom stew (normally chanterelle stew). 

 

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Around noon today they’ll rise the midsummer pole and like the may pole it’s a big phallus to be honest. Most of them do however look like a big cross dressed in flowers and leafs (lots of people will also have flower wreaths on their heads). When it stands safely the music starts and people starts to dance around it. It’s mostly for the children but lots of adults participate too of course. Today the most popular song is called The little frogs and naturally all do special moves that follows the lyrics. It’s hard for old knees to jump like frogs🙂🙂 That song however, I read this morning, is actually a march the French soldiers used while practicing and had nothing what so ever to do with frogs. They think it was the British soldiers who when they wanted to mock the French soldiers changed the lyrics and compared the French soldiers with frogs🙂🙂

 

Perhaps I should take a walk to the old tombs tonight around midnight.

Perhaps I should take a walk to the old tombs tonight around midnight.

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This is how the crows look here in Sweden. It's the same species as the black one.

This is how the crows look here in Sweden. It’s the same species as the black one. I think it’s quite beautiful.

 

This coming night, short as it is, is full of magic. Beings are out moving around and this is the night to collect medicinal plants and the morning dew that was said to have extra strong healing powers. The morning dew was also perfect to use when fermenting bread and beer. It was impossible to fail if using it. It was also important to drink the dew if being sick because You would get better soon if You did. To walk barefoot in the morning dew also made sure to keep You strong and healthy all autumn and winter long too. Hidden magical treasures would show up tonight and if one was quiet while looking for them one could get rich but by making the tiniest sound the treasure would disappear for ever. 

 

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Can You see the wind power plant in the photo? It has never moved a single inch during the fourteen years I've lived here :-)

Can You see the wind power plant in the photo? It has never moved a single inch during the fourteen years I’ve lived here🙂

 

It was also very important to be absolutely quiet if one wanted to know who one was going to marry. Depending on where one lived one should collect seven or nine flowers while climbing over seven or nine fences around midnight. The flowers would then be placed beneath the pillow and during the night one would dream about the coming spouse. Another way to know the future was to sit by a cross-road or an earth-bound stone (not quite sure what that is to be honest) during the night and wait. But not all signs were good, there’s an old tale about three young girls sitting by a cross-road. One heard sounds from a forge, one heard sounds from church bells and one heard music from a violin. The first girl got married to a blacksmith, the third girl got married to a musician and the second girl heard the church bells from her own burial, she died within a year.

 

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Tomorrow I thought I would tell You more about our magical beings, perhaps both nice and bad ones, we seems to have plenty of both🙂 Tonight will not be a good night to walk around alone out by the bog I guess🙂 Today will mostly be rather cold, perhaps not over 14C (57F) but this is the place to be if one wants sunshine. I live between the two big lakes and they’ll push away the clouds that mostly will cover the rest of the country. There will be snowfall up in the Swedish-Norwegian mountains but it will melt away pretty quick. 

 

In my garden now.

In my garden now.

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Astrantia major.

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Tomorrow is Summer solstice but we always celebrate Midsummer eve the last Friday in the month of June. It’s no national holiday but almost all will be home from work anyway🙂 It’s even a paid free day from work🙂

 

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Clematis integrifolia. My absolute favorite clematis. Doesn’t climb but needs to lean towards other plants.

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Sometimes a tiny injury to the stem gives the most odd results liker on this Larkspur.

 

 

Have a great day!

 

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18 thoughts on “Midsummer.

  1. Christer –
    We always enjoy hearing about your holidays and culture, but I sincerely enjoy your pictures, especially the flowers today. What sunshine and bright colors! I love the blue butterfly, and the hollyhocks, and your little red cottage is delightful! Enjoy your Midsummer – getting hot here in coastal Texas. 93 F expected today ~

    • Hi texasann and welcome to my blog🙂

      I’m glad You like my photos🙂
      The weather is so nice today, sunny and windy but perhaps a bit chilly. Perfect to mow the lawn though🙂

      I do like that butterfly, it’s some kind of Blue Wing as we call them!

      I’m sort of gflad we don’t have 93 here🙂🙂🙂

      Have a great day!
      Christer.

  2. hi christer! i sure wish i was having your weather. i woke to thick fog and humidity. i love hearing your traditions! and i have to say, i am there with you and the pickled herring! pickled fish? who ever thought of such a thing? gross!!! joyce

    • Hi Joyce!

      I wouldn’t mind Your fog but I’m sure glad we don’t have any higher humidity🙂 But it is very nice outdoors even if it is a bit chilly and the wind has started to blow even harder but that made it nicer to mow the lawn, all flies blew away🙂

      I just can’t understand how anyone can eat it!!! But it’s very big here and I think in Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands too. I guess it was a way to preserv the fish so they had something to eat when times were bad. I’m not sure I would have survived bad times because I just can’t eat it🙂🙂🙂

      Have a great day!
      Christer.

  3. Hi Christer,
    Midsummer Eve early dawn light is incredible in your part of the world. Everything is so clear and shining. It’s like brand new. The first photo is especially beautiful with the light on the grass. The close up of the shaggy horse is good, too. Thanks for that one.
    I chuckled a bit at the red building with the bath tub in the field. It has to be a pasture. Old bathtubs are almost a required piece of equipment for a horse pasture in my part of the world. Those antique tubs are popular so people go around buying (or maybe stealing) them out of horse pastures, refinishing them and selling them.

    It’s still morning here. It’s sunny and pleasant with a light breeze. The last two days were hot and humid so this is refreshing. My peonies bloomed for three days and then shattered all their petals in the heat. Poof! Gone. Oh, well. The vicious roses are blooming heartily all over the back swamp and they smell wonderful. In a few days they will smell rotten and after that they will be vicious thorny things again.

    Pickled herring is an acquired taste. Salmon is too but I like salmon. Here in New England it used to be traditional to eat salmon and peas on July 4th. I guess that was when the salmon ran and the peas were ripe. Nowadays it’s rare for people to do that. They do hamburgers, hot dogs and other meats on the grill along with corn on the cob and potato salad.
    Enjoy Midsummer Eve and the prince sausages.🙂

    • Hi Caryn!

      I think it has to do with the angle towards the sun that gives us that special light. I know You want a close up on that horse and the other brown one so I always try to take some🙂

      That bath tub is where the shaggy horse usually walks arou d with his friend🙂 and it’s thye same here🙂 They used to be popular here too but not for the moment. It’s just a matter of time until they are again🙂

      None of my peonies except for the tree one have any buds this year, I wonder if they didn’t like two mild winters in a row or if the heavy frost took those buds. Lots of plants got damaged here because of that. Even the vicious roses are behind and so far they only show a flower or two. They will however flower all summer long so no rotten smell here thankfully, it’s enough with the lilacs🙂

      Most people are born loving pickled herring here, I think it might have something to do with our DNA🙂🙂🙂 I don’t have those genes since I’m a big part russian and serb I guess🙂🙂🙂 I do like fried or cooked salmon though and smoked if it is warm smoked. Salmon has become a cheap fish here so now almost everyone has it at holidays. I prefer hamburgers and sausages though🙂 Corn on the cob is an autumn/ winter thing for me though. Potato salad is a must at every BBQ and midsummer smrorgas bord and I forgot the straw berries.

      I will🙂
      Have a great day!
      Christer.

  4. Ja, inte lär det bli några barn efter den här natten och inte har vi heller druckit oss fulla trots att vi haft midsommargäster till sillunch.🙂 Men förmodligen är man på väg att bli för gammal för att fira midsommar på “rätt” sätt! *FNISS* 😦
    Däremot kanske man ska ta sig en tur i det daggvåta gräset framåt efternatten. Fast då får det bli med skor på och med kissnödig hund!🙂🙂
    KRAM och TREVLIG MIDSOMMAR
    Susie

    • Herjsan Susie!

      Jo här är riktigt fint väder nu, blåsten har lugnat sig och solen skiner. Så det blir nog en del ungar i Skaraborg i alla fall🙂🙂 Jag gillar inte att bli full så jag håller mig till te, kaffe och mjölk. Känner till och med för cacao idag spå kanske slår jag till med det ikväll🙂

      Dåligt med dagg här nu, tror det är alldeles för torrt i trakten nu. Fick ju knappt ens en skur igår när det skulle ösa ned hela dagen. Jag klagar inte för då blir det mindre med flugor🙂

      Trevlig midsommar!
      Christer.

  5. Hi Christer! Nice to see you back🙂 I am looking forward to the Solstice tomorrow – I may walk in the dew if the rain finally stops here! To be honest, I love pickled herring, but the kind you buy in the jars. Not sure if you have ever had that kind but I find it delicious! Especially eaten with cheese. I should send you a jar to try🙂 Maybe its the Canadian version of pickled herring. The picture of the horse is stunning! Have a good evening and a happy Saturday!

    • Hi Dianna!

      It’s 4:25 am here right now and the rain has just started to fall so it’s hard to know if I would walk in dew or just plain rain🙂🙂🙂

      This is the promised land of picklked herring, i think there are at least a hundred different varieties of it in the stores🙂🙂🙂 Big jars, small jars or why not a small bucket🙂 and they are all just as bad🙂🙂🙂

      Have a great day!
      Christer.

  6. Christer,
    I love the stories of all your traditions and customs. Spirits roaming and a night filled with magic are so cool. The only problem is I do not like most of the traditional foods of the day except the sausages and the mushrooms.

    Have a great evening-be careful of roaming spirits!

    • Hi Kat!

      I do like our old stories and folklore but I’m not a big fan of dancing around the midsummer pole🙂 We have even worse food🙂 Soon it is time for Surströmming, a kind of fermented fish. Smells like hell but the taste isn’t that bad. However it does feel like eating raw fish and I draw the line there🙂

      Have a great day!
      Christer.

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