Midsummer.

This photo I've borrowed from Nordiska museet (The Nordic Museum).

This photo I’ve borrowed from Nordiska museet (The Nordic Museum).

I’ve never understood why we now days celebrate midsummer, why are we celebrating that we no turn towards darker and colder days again, especially since our summers are as short and usually chilly as they are. But old traditions die hard as we say here πŸ™‚ Back in the days this was a time to celebrate fertility for livestock, fields and humans. Today it’s mostly a time to have fun, eat a lot of food, usually get nasty drunk and there will be a lot of kids born in nine months from now πŸ™‚

 

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It was foggy up on the mountain this morning.

It was foggy up on the mountain this morning.

This morning lots of people will go outside, no matter what kind of weather we’re having, to collect lots of flowers and birch twigs. Those will later on be used to dress the Midsummer pole. Some of it will also be used to make wreaths to wear on our heads. Around 1 pm people then will start to dance around the pole to songs like “The little frogs”, The priests little crow and other traditional songs sung both now and at Christmas when they all dance around the Yule Spruce. After the dancing most people will return home to start eating.

 

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It looks like it will be a good cherry year.

It looks like it will be a good cherry year.

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We Swedes don’t have that much variation when it comes to holiday food. You will always find pickled herring at any holiday table here (we tend to have a smorgasbord on holidays), You’ll also find meatballs, prince sausages, salmon in many variations and a few different salads. Then of course there’s always one seasonal thing too, like ham at Christmas and lots of eggs at Easter πŸ™‚ If You could get a look at our tables You would very quickly see that Swedes eat anything that is pickled, we must have over hundred variations of pickled herring for instance. personally I just can’t eat it so I have prince sausages and meatballs instead πŸ™‚

 

Sometimes I'm surprised that the Roe deer isn't extinct :-) I had to shout out loud to get this ones attention :-) I didn't want to scare it by just walking by but I'm not even sure it would have noticed us if we had passed it on the road :-)

Sometimes I’m surprised that the Roe deer isn’t extinct πŸ™‚ I had to shout out loud to get this ones attention πŸ™‚ I didn’t want to scare it by just walking by but I’m not even sure it would have noticed us if we had passed it on the road πŸ™‚

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Can You see what flowers are most dominant now :-)

Can You see what flowers are most dominant now πŸ™‚

Tonight however is one of the most magical nights there is and lots of the beings are out and about. I don’t think our trolls become stone or burst when being hit by sunlight, that would be rather difficult since we actually have sunlight here from time to time and the sun now is up for over 18 hours and our trolls are much like us humans with farms of their own and really can’t cope by just being up while the sun is away during summer. The mountain trolls however is different, big, shrewd and a bit evil as well but they live far from here πŸ™‚

 

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So I wouldn’t be worried if I met a troll while being out walking tonight, I’m not even sure if I would recognise one since they usually keep their tails hidden but I could of course try to see their ears, which are slightly pointy. I would however stay away from many others like fairies, nasty little things that loves to spread diseases and death to especially children. The Lantern Man would have problems luring me out on the bog since it is so bright outside all day now πŸ™‚ For the ones having an Ash tree on their property it might be a good thing to sacrifice something for the tree, like water if the summer is dry or fertilizers now when summer is wet. That’s a good way to keep the Ash tree lady away from the home, she isn’t nice to have around otherwise.

 

This is the last photo from this morning, the rest will be a mix of older ones.

This is the last photo from this morning, the rest will be a mix of older ones.

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If You are unmarried and wants to know who Your future spouse will be You can get to know that this night. Just go out and pick seven or nine flowers (depending on which tradition one follows) and climb seven or nine fences and (be quiet all the time untill you fall asleep) put those flowers under Your pillow during the night and You will dream about the coming one. While You are out and about at night You might as well collect as much dew as You possibly can since it has healing powers that You might need during our long and dark winters.

 

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One way to collect a lot of dew is to take the wreath You made earlier today, drag it in the wet grass, drie the wreath and save it for that Christmas bath. Put the wreath in the bathtub and then join it for a long nice bath, that will help You staying healthy through the rest of the winter. The midsummer dew could also help when baking or brewing beer πŸ™‚ this was also the night to collect as much medicinal plants as one could, they would be extra potent if picked this coming night.

 

These are from the Edixa. I was trying the "new" tele-photo lens and it was a bit tricky to use because I had to wait adjusting the aperture until I was happy with the photo. As son as I adjusted the aperture it was very hard to see through the lens at all :-)

These are from the Edixa. I was trying the “new” tele-photo lens and it was a bit tricky to use because I had to wait adjusting the aperture until I was happy with the photo. As son as I adjusted the aperture it was very hard to see through the lens at all πŸ™‚

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I would dare to say that today also would be a very good day to plant a Care Tree. A Care Tree is tightly connected to the well-being and fortune to the property one lives at. Different beings can take a home in that tree ( like our gnomes, grumpy old long bearded but very small beings, or Wight’s or guardian spirits) and as long as one doesn’t disturb it, like taking even a single leaf or injure it in any way no harm will come to the home on that property. If, however, one would injure that tree in any way the property and family living there is doomed. I have two Care Trees in my garden, two different Rowans πŸ™‚

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I really get a feeling of old times when watching these Edixa photos. I guess both the old camera and to use a film instead of a digital camera brings out that old-time look in the photos.

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The Church did try to make this a Christian holiday, that was what they did. They used an old pagan tradition and made it Christian. Here however they failed miserably πŸ™‚ I doubt that anyone who isn’t Christian actually knows that our midsummer also is John the Baptist’s day, to be honest I don’t think many christians know that either πŸ™‚

 

It is easier to get better photos with the old Hasselblad camera though. Using old cameras is both impractical and expensive but so much more fun :-)

It is easier to get better photos with the old Hasselblad camera though. Using old cameras is both impractical and expensive but so much more fun πŸ™‚

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I didn’t use a tripod for any of these photos and many of them shows the world in a slightly odd angle πŸ™‚

It is time for a short walk again, it doesn’t look like it will rain for a while now so we better get out there while we can πŸ™‚

Have a great Midsummer’s eve!

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14 responses

  1. Caryn

    Hi Christer,
    Those flowers are white flowers which only grow by the roadside or in the grassy space between the ruts in the dirt road. Beyond guessing that they are angelica or cow parsnip or one of that crowd, it’s the best I can do.

    I think Winter and Summer Solstice were originally celebrated for similar reasons. We didn’t want the sun to overstep its bounds by going away entirely or coming so close that it burnt us up. It was all a plea to nature to be reasonable. But we might as well have a great party while we are pleading. It takes the sting off being powerless. πŸ™‚

    Today is supposed to be sunny with a high of 82F. It isn’t either of those things right now. It’s murky and cool.

    Have a magical Midsummer’s Eve and enjoy the day.

    June 19, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    • Hi Caryn!

      Those white flowe3rs are hundkex or dog bisquits πŸ™‚ and yes they do grow best along roads πŸ™‚

      They probably were and to be honest, they didn’t have too much to party about back in the days, just surviving was hard enough πŸ™‚

      Cloudy and drizzly most of the time here, sometimes the sun almost shines through the clouds but only almost. I still have my radiators on and I’m wearing a thick sweater indoors πŸ™‚

      I’ll go out tonight to get me some dew and to chat with some trolls πŸ™‚

      Have a great day!
      Christer.

      June 19, 2015 at 2:02 pm

  2. jaz

    hi christer! happy midsummer! it makes me so happy that we are now headed to my favorite seasons! everyone here celebrates the beginning of summer but i look at it as the winding down time. i am going shopping this afternoon to buy things i need to start making my fall decorations! it won’t be too long now before my decorating begins! joyce

    June 19, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    • Hi Joyce!

      I think I would have felt the same if we had Your kind of summers, hotter than hell that is πŸ™‚ It hasn’t even started properly here so it just doesn’t feel right that iot is already turning.

      Good hunting on things for Your autumn decorations πŸ™‚

      have a great midsummer’s eve!
      Christer.

      June 19, 2015 at 3:41 pm

  3. Dianna

    Hi Christer! Happy Midsummer’s Eve to you!! I just love the folklore that you tell us. Its most magickal! πŸ™‚ I hope the rain stays away and that the festivities can happen for everyone. Great pictures today, love the 13th one down the best! (except for the horse one of course)! πŸ™‚ I love pickled herring but to be honest, I think this city only carries one kind. Its a bit of a sweet pickled variety and the herring is cut into pieces. I like it on bread as that’s how I was brought up eating it. I am curious about the prince sausages – I wonder what they taste like?! Our weekend is going to rain starting today and tomorrow. Sunday “should” be nice but who knows – its the weekend. Its rained every weekend since the nice weather started. Have a good evening!!

    June 19, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    • Hi Dianna!

      Thank You πŸ™‚

      The rain is driving me slightly insane, not because it rains but it tenbds to start pouring down as soon as we’re out walking πŸ™‚ Last walk we sat in the old stable for almost twenty minutes until it calmed down so we could continue. It started pouring down again as soon as we came home again πŸ™‚
      I think only the hard core around the pole dansers will be out dancing today πŸ™‚

      I think the last of the spider webs is my favorite today.

      I just can’t stand the consistency of pickled herring πŸ™‚ I won’t say anything about the taste because I’ve never tasted especially much because of that πŸ™‚ We have loads of different kinds here not to mention all home made varieties as well πŸ™‚

      Prince sausages taste very much like Vienna sausages or franfurters but they are just half the size. Some prefer to buy them raw and then to boil them but I prefer the smoked ones.

      We’ll have plenty of rain here this coming week but they say we’ll see the sun more from tomorrow evening.

      Have a great midsummer’s eve!
      Christer.

      June 19, 2015 at 4:46 pm

  4. Christer,
    Have a wonderful Midsummer’s Eve!

    I love reading your stories and customs about trolls, gnomes, fairies, the Ash Tree lady and The Lantern Man. You have such a wonderful mixture of light and dark people.

    I am not a fan of salmon or pickled herring. My menu would have to include those meatballs and lots of sausages. I do like a variety of salads so those too would be on the table.

    The last couple of pictures are my favorites. The flowers are beautiful and the pictures show all that beauty and color.

    Have a great evening! Enjoy!!!

    June 19, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    • Hi Kat!

      I’ll stay at home and watch a scifi movie later tonight. The village is totally quiet now, there were some sounds earliuer when they were preparing the cow pasture beside my kitychen to become a sheep pasture instead. I think the sheep will move in tomorrow πŸ™‚

      I do like our old folk lore but people are forgetting it now days. My favorites of all beings are our trolls and of course the Big Lady (or bog hag as the right translation really should be πŸ™‚ ).

      They even pickle salmon here!! That is even worse than pickled herring πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Sow I always have meatballs and sausages instead πŸ™‚

      I do like the Hasselblad photos too. The quality of the digital cameras are mush better but I like how the old camera photos look, I guess I get a bit sentimental when looking at them πŸ™‚

      Have a great midsummer’s eve!
      Christer.

      June 19, 2015 at 5:02 pm

  5. its fascinating the history and folklore you have in your country, I don’t like the sound of Tolls and I must say I have a whole new opinion on Fairies! Have a great Mid summer’s eve!

    June 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    • Hi Laurie!

      Most of our trolls are very nice and look very much like us too but the mountain trolls are very different and those one wants to avoid πŸ™‚ Fairies are truly nasty but can help us if they gain anything from it πŸ™‚

      have a great midsummer’s eve!
      Christer.

      June 19, 2015 at 7:28 pm

  6. Christer, the Fairies got a bad rap in Sweden and that’s probably why they all migrated to Ireland. πŸ™‚ Here the Fairies bring money to the little children for the teeth they lose. The little ones put their lost teeth under their pillow at night and in the morning they find money. Hopefully! Yep, Faires are good little beings in our country. Maybe they learned their lesson in Sweden. Your photo’s in the early part of your post were beautiful. Were those taken with a different camera than the ones at the end of your post, or did I misunderstand.
    A child has a lot to think about in Sweden. I never would have made it. I wrestled with the “boogy man” here all my childhood days. πŸ™‚ I’m still afraid of the dark..and that will never change.
    Take care..and I’m thinking it’s already …I’ve missed the party day in Sweden.. 😦

    June 20, 2015 at 5:29 am

    • Hi Mona!

      I just checked that up and actually fairies in the celtic folklore is quite often nasty too πŸ™‚ The name fairy is actually used to describe lots of different beings but some of them are nicer than ours πŸ™‚ Today however, in the modern myths they are described as nice and helpful most of the times.

      The tooth fairy never really made it here, we just put the teeh in a glass of coca cola and the parents remove it during the night and puts a coin in there instead πŸ™‚

      Yes I’ve used three different cameras in this post. the first ones are from my digital camera and the ones in the middle is from the Ediuxa and the four last ones are from the Hasselblad. So thge old ones are taken with cameras as old as 50 years πŸ™‚

      Yes You missed the party day πŸ™‚
      Have a nice midusmmer’s day!

      Christer.

      June 20, 2015 at 6:09 am

  7. Beatrice P. Boyd

    Belated midsummer’s day, Christer, and hope the rains ended for those folks who had any outdoor plans. I also do not like most things pickled, inckuding herring, which I have tried. It is a favorite with some people of the Jewish faith, I believe. Luckily, we have not have a lot of continuous rain here in NH, but at iur VA house, it has been very hot and humid and rainy too. We are enjoying this weather. The old cameras are wonderful and while I do miss some I had used in the past, I also like the advantages of digital cameras much more now.

    June 21, 2015 at 5:29 am

    • Hi Beatrice!

      Midsummer’s eve was so rainy here in southern Sweden that I think onkly the toughest went out to dance around the midsummer pole πŸ™‚ In northern Sweden they had sunshine but nasty cold instead πŸ™‚ Yesterday however was a really nice day and today should be as well but fog clouds cover the sun at the moment. Too bad they aren’t on the ground here because I would have gotten some nice photos then πŸ™‚

      The only pickled things I like are pickled vegetables, anything else pickled is usually quite gross πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Japanese people like pickled things too if I remember right πŸ™‚

      I can’t say anything else than our digital cameras are so much better in all ways πŸ™‚ but there’s something with the old ones we can’t get in these new ones. I guess it all has to do with the film, they sort of give an old time feeling to those photos. I know we can edit our digital photos to look old too but it never get the same feeling to them. I think I like the old ones so much just because it isn’t easy, I must think through before photographing, something I’ve been lousy at so far πŸ™‚

      Have a great day!
      Christer.

      June 21, 2015 at 6:33 am

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