I have borrowed this photograph from Göinge Halmslöjd (if You click on the name You´ll come to their web site. If You click on Produkter when You get there they show what they can do). This is some variations in how midsummer poles can look like.
Today is one of the most important holidays we have here in Sweden, Midsummer. To be honest that was a couple of days ago but they changed the holiday to the first weekend after the real thing. For some reason I really don´t know it´s always the eve´s that are the big days here. Christmas (or Yule as we call it), easter and midsummer and it´s the eve we celebrate.
This is a tradition the christian churches always tried to change from a pagan holiday to a christian but they have always failed 🙂 They know that 500 A.C they had big celebrations here in the north around midsummer. Back then they celebrated fertility and this was the big day for the viking fertility gods Frei (male) and Freia (female). I don´t think You need a specially dirty mind to figure out what they were doing while celebrating 🙂 🙂 Back then they had huge bonfires but that later on changed to the Midsummer pole instead.
The midsummer pole looks much like a big cross dressed in flowers but is really a phallus 🙂 🙂 Now days we celebrate it a bit different (even though there are an awful lots of kids being born after nine months now days as well 🙂 ). Around noon they start to dance around the midsummer pole. This is mostly for the children of course and they sing merry little songs like “The little frogs, the little frogs are so funny to see. No ears, no ears no tails they have.” It´s a strange little song in swedish but it´s even more strange when translating it to english 🙂 🙂 🙂 Another merry little song is “The priests little crow wanted to go for a ride, no one he had to drive him” This continues with the crow deciding to drive himself and ends up in a ditch 🙂 🙂 🙂 Naturally everyone dancing also moves in special ways to the songs 🙂
After singing and dancing eating is on the list. Pickled herring in all variations is most popular. I can´t for my life understand how anyone can eat it but I am amongst the few 🙂 New potatoes boiled with dill is also one of the most important things we eat. I almost forgot the sour cream with chives, that is a must for me anyway.
Midsummer has always been seen as a very magical period and especially the night. Tonight lots of girls (and young women and perhaps a couple of men too) will pich seven (some places nine) different flowers to put under their pillow. While picking them they have to climb over seven (some places nine) fences and be absolutely quiet during this time (some places You had to be quiet until You went to bed and fell asleep). If they manage to do this they will be dreaming of the man they´ll marry (or at least spend some time in life with, very few really can make a marriage last any longer time now days 🙂 🙂 🙂 )
Morning dew is especially important to collect tomorrow morning, because it can cure any disease according to old folk lore. I´ve never tried it so I don´t know if it´s true though 🙂 It´s also said that if You mix in this dew when You bake bred You can´t fail, but that would be a waste if one hasn´t a couple of gallons of morning dew 🙂 🙂 But there were other ways to cure illness especially on midsummer night. My mormor (grandmother on my mothers side) told me how they dragged her through a forked branch during midnight at midsummer when she was a baby. She was born with a heart disease and her parents ( or at least her mother, because it is said her grandmother was a gipsy, something most in my family never speaks of. Well except for me then, I would be proud if I was a gipsy descendant ). She never got rid of her disease but came to be 85 years old anyway 🙂
Peonies is something one should stay away from this day according to folklore, because if You smelled the flower You could get cancer!? Back then they thought that cancer sort of lived in peonies. So to stop any ignorant of this important fact they could put paper cones over the flower so no one could smell it 🙂
I won´t be doing anything of these things today. For the first time I´ve said no to all midsummer parties and will stay at home. Well I´ll be eating something special of course but I haven´t decided what yet 🙂 I had planned to continue with my pond area but the wind is nasty cold and the sun only appears now and again. I think I´ll take a nap instead 🙂 Have a great day!