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 🙂
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 🙂
The sun is shining and it feels so strange, today should be cloudy and rainy too, it always is these two days of midsummer 🙂 We will actually have lots of sunshine today according to the Norwegian weather site yr.no (I think You can use that one on the American continent too and it is the most accurate of all weather sites we have here). The Swedish one however show almost no sun until late afternoon so it looks like the Norwegian is the one giving the prediction closer to the truth today.
I wasn’t up especially early today, I watched a movie on channel Six yesterday and it didn’t end until 11pm. I woke up as always around 4 but went back to bed and slept until 7:30. I can’t remember when I slept until then before and not being sick 🙂 The film was Android Apocalypse and was it worth staying up for so long? No not really but I had high hopes for a very long time 🙂 It didn’t matter much that I did sleep for so long since the weather still was rather lousy when we went out for our morning walk.
We have quite a lot of mosquitos now but still rather few but very annoying forest flies. We also have lots of midges, our black flies. They don’t seem to like me especially much but I have been bitten a few times now. It’s worse for the animals though and bad years there are so many midges around that they actually can kill a moose! Thankfully they normally stay close to running water and there’s not a lot of that around my cottage.
I’ve boiled the minced meat and rice to Orvars food, I’ll keep on giving him that even if his stomach now is much better. He’s getting a third of his normal dog food, a third of boiled minced meat and a third of rice. He likes it and it isn’t especially hard to make for him so why not 🙂
Today is a do very little day, the lawn is too wet to mow and I don’t feel like doing the laundry today. There’s nothing to watch on tv since the last episode of the season of Grimm was showed last Saturday and that was what I’ve been watching on Saturdays. I will most likely take a nap or two though 🙂
Have a great day!
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 🙂