Midsommar is usually described as Sweden’s unofficial national day because of all the rituals associated with it, the preparations it requires, as well as the passion Swedes put into it. Here’s a funny video introduction to it.
It’s usually a 2 days holiday; during the first day (called ‘Midsommar afton’) the may pole is erected, people sing and dance around it for a while, then eat the traditional herring and potatoes dish accompanied by some grilling and followed by strawberry cake, then drinks are served and more dancing goes on until late in the evening. And the party continues in similar ways the next day (Midsommar dag).
Not much gets done during these 2 days since most Swedes are out of town, visiting relatives or friends ‘på landet’/ in the countryside, taking advantage of the bank holidays that the state ensures in order to give its blessing to the celebration.
Stockholm turns into a ghost town during these days, which it’s actually quite nice for a change; but Midsommar is also the turning point for the summer days, as the days start to get shorter again.
For our part, we decided to get a taste of the traditional celebrations by joining the crowds at Skansen, the village museum in Stockholm. We had a really nice time and also got some reassurance that we were not the only ones to feel slightly disconnected with the Swedes about this holidays.