Solstice, or Midsommar, falls shortly after school is out and a week after most of the pools open. In Sweden, it is the beginning of a short but valued season where maybe, just maybe, you can comfortably wear shorts, short sleeves, and go swimming. Most Swedes take the whole month of July off, so it is the kick off to summer vacation time for school kids and workers alike. The festivities of the day are partly private, and partly a community affair. It reminds me of how we are about 4th of July in the USA- in that it is the middle of summer holiday, you eat with your family but then go to a community event- on the 4th its the fireworks, in Sweden it is the midsommar pole raising and dances.
Here is the Swedish version of Fireworks- the clapping and stomping that concludes the midsommar pole dancing!
In the area we were visiting my husband's dad this year, we were lucky to enjoy a great troupe of musicians that play the traditional midsommar songs on the traditional instruments. One of the musicians was participating in his 61st consecutive midsommar as a fiddler in his village!
There are sacred midsommar dances, but the usual dances are for children, and are songs with easy to follow along movements, like a hopping frog, rabbit hiding in a burrow, fiddling, or washing/hanging/ ironing your clothes.
Thank you for a grand initiation to Swedish Midsommar!