Glad midsommar! Happy midsummer!
Midsummer celebrates the summer solstice and is arguably the most popular holiday in Sweden. It takes place on the Friday between June 19th and June 26th every year and usually lasts from that evening to the next morning.
Midsummer is characterized by the maypole, placed in the center of a large grassy area, as depicted in the photo above. The maypole serves as a point for people to gather around to sing and dance.
Why is midsummer so popular in Sweden?
Winters in Sweden are about as dreary as a season can get; they are extremely long, dark, and freezing. Midsummer serves as a way to leave behind winter and celebrate the start of summer, which is a beautiful season to experience in Sweden. Most Swedes have several weeks of vacation during the summer; time they spend biking down country lanes, swimming in the pristine lakes, and just generally getting as much as possible out of the warm weather. Midsummer’s Eve is one of the longest days of the year and in some parts of Sweden it stays light out the whole night. This gives Swedes the chance to celebrate all night, giving them a taste of what is to come in the summer months. When I asked several of my family and friends in Sweden why they think midsummer is such a beloved holiday, the general consensus was that it gives people the chance to get together with all their family and friends and just have a good time. Swedes also tend to drink a lot on Midsummer’s Eve which adds to the fun of singing and dancing into the early hours of the morning.