Today we celebrate Midsummer’s eve here in Sweden, a holiday as big as Christmas over here. The traditions go way back and the christian church did of course do what it could to make it a truly christian holiday and one could say they failed miserably 🙂 They made tomorrow John the Baptist day since it is 6 months before Christmas day so that sort of fits rather well. If You ask anyone today when John the Baptist’s day is I’m pretty very few would be able to say the right day. For some reason we Swedes always celebrate the eve, never the actual day 🙂 Tomorrow will be a day to cure hangovers for many people and in nine months lots of kids will be born 🙂
It rained almost all day yesterday. The dogs loved to finally get out on a walk this morning, I was exhausted when we came back 🙂
The Midsummer pole, some also call it the may pole but in this case the swedish word for may doesn’t mean the month but to dress, is dressed with leafy twigs and flowers. Some say that tradition is very old others that it came from Germany in the early middle ages, what we do know however is that back in the days they had huge bonfires but to be honest, it is not so wise to have if the summer is dry, who knows how well that fire will spread with some help from the wind 🙂 Anyway, the midsummer pole is dressed and risen early in the day and later in the day people will start dancing around it. My favorite song is the little frogs and it is quite fun to see grown up jump like little frogs around the pole 🙂 Another favorite is of course the priest’s little crow who drove a car by himself and we all know that is a pretty difficult task for a crow so he slides here and there until he ends up in the ditch and of course that’s what all dancing will do too 🙂
Photo comes from: http://www.grottanfredriksdal.se/?page_id=332
- The bog ladies had had fires during the night.
It doesn’t take a lot of dirty imagination to see what the midsummer pole really is 🙂 and lots of magic is connected to it. The pole is usually made as a big cross and at the end of each side of the cross hang wreaths, those wreaths were important to save because when winter arrived it was important to put in the bath, that would keep You healthy for the rest of the winter and that was very important since they didn’t have any antibiotics. Even though the night is very short here at this time of year it still was important to keep ones eyes open just in case any of the beings we have here would come too close. They were especially active this coming night. A common troll was no big problem, it seems they usually were good friends with humans (and no our trolls don’t burst if the sun hits them or become stone. They also look very much like us with the exception of the long fury tail). A mountain troll however is a nasty piece of work and they would most likely kidnap any human getting to close. They are however easy to see because of their size and they are also rather ugly).
This is how normal trolls look like here. The painter was John Bauer and this painting comes from the boom series Amongst gnomes and trolls. This is about a changeling, the troll mother (to the left) wanted of course the best for her daughter so she swapped babies with a queen. Her daughter was anything but nice though 🙂
This however is a Mountain troll, shrewd but not too intelligent. This is also a John Bauer painting.
Young girls had their best chance of knowing who they would marry this night. They had to, totally quiet until they fell asleep, pass seven (or nine depending on where one lived) fences and pick seven (or nine) flowers to put under their pillow. If they managed to do that they would dream of their husband to be. One way to make sure one would be healthy all year long was to roll around in the midsummer’s morning dew, naked of course. The dew had lots of magical powers so people collected it too in empty jars just in case someone got seriously ill. This was of course the night it was important to collect as much healing herbs as possible, preferable with lots of dew on them. In some places they drank spring. They had beforehand cleaned out a spring in the forest or where ever it might be and during the night they went to the spring and drank the water, that would also secure good health they thought. Naturally that could be a problem because of the spring nymph. If they didn’t sacrifice to the nymph the effect would be quite the opposite.
I woke up at 2 am last night while almost successfully trying to cough up my lungs over the bed. My throat had been so swollen for a few das that if affected my ears but suddenly I could feel the swelling get smaller, I got my hearing back again 🙂 and my fever vanished and has stayed away all day! I still have that nasty coughing and I’m pretty sure it will stay for at least a few days more. I would feel alive again if it not had been for the rather high temperature outside together with over 95% humidity. It feels like I’m walking in a steam bath 🙂 🙂 An hour ago they predicted rain and thunderstorms but now they say mostly sunny and no thunder at all 🙂 I don’t care because I’ll most likely just sit on my sofa doing nothing. The beekeepers wanted me to come over but I don’t have any energy to do anything 🙂
The four last ones, for this time, taken with the Kiev4.
It is time to make a pot of tea I think and perhaps I’ll repot some plants with too small pots but I doubt it 🙂
Have a nice midsummer’s eve!