Being in the Skåne part of Sweden this summer because of an internship, I was lucky enough to witness one of Sweden’s biggest holidays: Midsummer. Midsummer takes place towards the end of June on the longest day of the year in which the sun can sometimes set around as late as eleven pm. The Friday before this day, to be exact June 21st for this year, is Midsummer’s Eve—a Friday full of festivals, dancing and food.
Each of the small surrounding towns holds a gathering in which children wear crowns made of flowers of all colors and dance around a pole decorated with leaves and prästkrages. Some ladies wear the traditional costume of a long skirt, button down shirt and vest with black leather shoes. Historically, the clothing defined whether a woman was a maiden or not.
With traditional Swedish Midsummer music playing in the background, booths are set up for people to play games or buy trinkets as couples dance in the center. Lots of cakes, pastries and muffins of chocolate, rhubarb, lingonberry or vanilla are served. But, the most popular one is a special Midsummer dessert made from strawberries which is simply superb for both the stomach and the eyes.
Families gather together on this day to eat and celebrate the summer, for in Sweden, where most of the year is composed of the dark long cold days of winter, a summery strawberry filled day is much needed. And at night when the day comes to an end, legend has that girls are to hand pick seven wildflowers and place them under their pillows. So when they sleep, they will dream of their future husbands.