Today, i.e. 26 June is being celebrated as ‘midsommar’ in a few countries. A summer celebration? definitely seems awkward to us Indians. But throughout the Nordic countries, arrival of spring is a big deal because the people go through long, dark Scandinavian winters. Everybody gets really excited about the weather and longs for the sun’s warmth. This cheerful time, indeed demands a jovial festivity. Thus, the people look forward to ‘the Midsummer’ which is considered to be the second most important holiday of the year(after Christmas), celebrated around the time of the summer solstice.
Speculations are that the Midsummer celebrations initially began because John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus Christ, was born six months before Jesus, which roughly falls between 20-26 June.
One of the most iconic part of the celebration is to erect a midsommarstång( a maypole) (image below) which stands at the centre of the entire feast. It was originally raised on May 1(hence the name) but since there wasn’t enough greenery to decorate it, because spring arrived a little late, the setting up of a maypole was shifted to Midsummer in June instead.
Midsummer is traditionally celebrated away from the city, on the countryside to harness the power of nature. A bizzare tradition followed by everybody is the frog dance. The Swedes hop like frogs around the maypole while singing ‘Små Gordorna'(the small frogs).
Another beautiful Midsummer custom is to wear flower wreaths. Both men and women are seen wearing flower crowns they make for themselves. It is also said that unmarried girls should pick 7(sometimes 9) flowers and put them under their pillow at night and they’d end up dreaming about their future partner. Thus, a Swedish verse says,”Midsummer night is not long but it sets many cradles to rock”.
To get more fun info about the festivity, check out this video: https://youtu.be/u8ZLpGOOA1Q
We cannot think of having such a festivity for Indian summers for sure, though:(
see you soon:))