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 🙂 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 🙂
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.
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 🙂 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 🙂
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 🙂
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 🙂 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.
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.
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 🙂 this was also the night to collect as much medicinal plants as one could, they would be extra potent if picked this coming night.
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 🙂
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 🙂 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 🙂
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 🙂
Have a great Midsummer’s eve!