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MIDSUMMER MADNESS
The weather cooperated and for one of the very few times in the 8 midsummers I've celebrated in Sweden, everything went off just right under a warm summer sun. Everywhere you looked, blue and yellow flags and pennants were snapping gaily in the breeze. We met up with a group of Anders' old friends in Älmhult, a little village 2 hours north of us, and celebrated a compleat midsummer, rife with the smell of strawberries, wildflowers and sunshine.



We joined the village celebration and were treated to accordion music, the sight of ladies young and old sporting flower wreaths in their hair, and the traditional dressing of the midsummer pole, gaily and gaudily clad in lupines as a crowning touch. A troop of musicians and dancers marched in a colorful procession bearing the midsummer pole and put it up to much applause. Then they danced a series of old folk circle and reel dances, smiling and bobbing and weaving gracefully in and out, trading partners smoothly and swiftly. After the MC had described their traditional dress in detail, spotlighting each costume and which part of Sweden it was from, it was time for the crowd to dance. 2 happy circles of smiling people ringed the midsummer greenery, and much hopping, hand gestures, laughing and circling ensued.



Thanks to a new book of recipes, Anders outdid himself with the herring, treating us to 6 different kinds, including onion, mustard, tarragon, and apple-sourcream-curry). Our midsummer celebration is typically a potluck, and we brought the herring, along with sourcream and chives for the new potatoes. A traditional Swedish midsummer feast consists of a very specific menu, and to deviate is nearly unthinkable. Swedes take their food traditions very seriously. Whatever the feast begins with, and continues with, tradition demands that it end with strawberries. It's a point of pride that the strawberries be Swedish. None of those overpriced, steroid-enlarged, suspiciously NON-Swedish imports will do, oh no.



Mikael and Lene's 2 lovely and well-bred cocker spaniels helped start healing the dog-sized hole in my heart by being extra adorable and friendly all evening. Karin, Sophia and Anton diligently put together and dressed a smaller midsummer pole and put it up proudly by the dinner table in the yard. After eating, all 11 children, high on summer, buzzed and sprang with unbelievable energy; they must have run a million laps around the house, chasing each other in screeching exuberance, while we sat talking and laughing and singing snapsvisor* until the crowds of tiny, biting gnats drove us all inside in the late evening gloaming.

(Midsummer Gallery)

*schnapps drinking songs
 peaceful
mood: peaceful
music: Joss Stone—Super Duper Love


Comments

have never experienced a swedish midsommar. it sounds more like of a social event than here.. well, surely we go to our cottages etc to gather together to drink heads off but the swedish midsommar stuff seems more like for the whole family. :) i suppose on the swedish regions in finland they may also have that pole rising? hmm.

Apparently, no one celebrates midsummer quite like the Swedes do. Some people are much more restrained about it, spending the weekend at their summer cottages for example. But there are a LOT of parties like the one we went to :)

The herring/sild sounds amazing, just like your day and pictures.

By the way, I always lovelovelovelove your posts!!!

aw, thank you sweets! :)

Beautiful pictures Liz! Sounds like a lovely time. :) I hope the weather next year is so cooperative again. haha

haha! When it started pouring this morning, we were all like HA! MISSED US! MISSED US!

it poured for hours upon hours here this morning (it even thundered quite a bit) and didn't let up until 3 pm. i guess the bad weather had to make up for missing midummer's eve, or something. :-)

your midsummer post was a delight to read. great pictures too!

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

It was fun :) We've been celebrating midsummer with this group of friends (and crayfish parties) for years, since before our kids were born. They are old Scout pals of Anders. :)

I just had to tell you, YOUR KIDS ARE SO CUTE!

I think you knew that already, though.

LOL! Yeah, I hear that a lot ;)

Hope you're feeling better!!

Lovely photographs, and just a wonderful post.

Wish I could have been there! How fun.

It was fun. I really enjoyed the old-fashioned dancing and costumes this year. That was a treat :)

aahhh!!! what a glorious post!
beautiful pics!
thank you~

You're welcome :) It was a good day!

who could have asked for better weather!? glad you guys had a good time :) and the photos were fabulous!

thanks :) Every time I look at the strawberry photo it makes me drool!

It sounds wonderful. Thanks for giving us another look through the window of Swedish tradition.

I have heard about the midsummer celebrations and I admire it so much. We have nothing like that over here. In that sense Holland truly lacks culture when it comes to things like this because I feel that you connect far more to nature as well. Those strawberries looks delicious! My mouth waters when looking at them.

How fun! The strawberries look delicious. And great pictures, of course!

Great pictures! I'm so glad you had nice weather this year.

(Anonymous)

What fun! And those are some beautiful (non-steroid) strawberries. :) ~Marilyn

(Anonymous)
the magic!!!

*running through with bells on my ankles, face painted blue, flowers in my hair*

What a celebration! i am in awe--- bluepoppy

P.S. Your doggerel was divine! You are so very special to me--- oh lady who named my home . . .

Bless you! Mom was just saying a few days ago, how much she wished she could go and celebrate midsummer in Sweden this year -- your pictures will help assuage those pangs. ;-)

(Anonymous)

Looks like a wonderful time, had by all.
steelcowboy

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