Even though we’ve lived here in Stockholm for nine years, I’ve never celebrated a proper Swedish midsommar. I know, I know – it’s the biggest holiday there is here, but we’ve usually been away and out of the country for it.
This year was different though. This year we decided we were going to celebrate it properly, dancing around the midsummer pole, singing the songs and wearing midsummer leaf crowns. And where better to go than Skansen, the open air museum and home to lots of traditional midsummer fun?
They provide all the greenery that you need to make your own midsummer crowns and it turned out that my husband is the expert crown-maker in the family, so P was left t make one for each of us.
The raising of the maypole is quite an event in itself. It took a while as they carry it in, decorate it with fresh flowers and then slowly push it upright using poles. And all the while, the crowd encourages them along, singing and cheering.
There was a band of traditional musicians to play as we danced around the maypole to all the midsummer classics: Små Grodarna (about hopping around like little frogs); Små Grisarna (about shuffling around like little pigs – can you see a theme here?); Prästens Lilla Kråka (about a crow that drove into a ditch); and Vi Äro Musikanter (about a band and the different instruments they play). All of the songs have different actions or dances to them. The boys thought it was tremendous fun.
And after the dancing, there was still the rest of Skansen to enjoy – eating kanelbulle (cinnamon buns) in the sunshine, climbing and sliding at the playground and visting our favourite animals. We got lucky and the wolves were in a playful mood, chasing each other right in front of us.
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What’s your favourite summer tradition?