Celebrate Swedish Midsummer With Flowers In Your Hair

June in Sweden is full of celebration—the long, dark winter is over, school’s out, and many begin their annual five-week holiday at this time. There’s no holiday more typically Swedish than Midsummer, which takes place between June 19 and June 25. Apart from Christmas, Midsummer is the most important holiday on the Swedish calendar. It's a day full of outdoor activities from morning to night. People dance, drink, sing and have fun with their friends and family.

Since the year 300, Christian churches in Sweden have celebrated Johannes (John) the Baptist’s birth on June 24. In some places in Sweden, his birth is still associated with the Swedish Midsummer. Others celebrate because Midsummer is close to the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year. Above all, Midsummer is a vivid celebration of life and love. Here are some of the major Midsummer traditions in Sweden:

The Midsummer Wreath

On the day of Midsummer, children and women will wear a wreath on their heads. Sometimes, people make their wreaths together by hand the day before Midsummer. Others just order from a flower shop.

In the past, it was a tradition for girls to pick seven different flowers and put them under their pillow. It was  then said that the girl would dream about the man she would marry in the future.

Midsommarstång

Around noon on Midsummer’s day, it is a tradition to dance and sing around a midsommarstång—a pole full of flowers. Some people make their own pole and dance at home, while others go to a public place and celebrate together with everyone. The songs and dances are usually goofy, and the most popular song is “Små Grodorna”, which means “small frogs” in Swedish. The lyrics are:

Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se.
Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se.
Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de.
Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de.
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack ka.
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack ka.
Små grisarna, små grisarna är lustiga att se.
Små grisarna, små grisarna är lustiga att se.
Båd svansar, båd svansar, och öron hava de.
Båd svansar, båd svansar, och öron hava de.
Nöff, nöff, nöff, nöff…

 

In English:

Small frogs, smalls frogs are strange to see.
Small frogs, smalls frogs are strange to see.
No ears, no ears, no tails they have.
No ears, no ears, no tails they have.
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack ka.
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack ka. (sound of frogs)
Small pigs, small pigs are strange to see.
Small pigs, small pigs are strange to see.
Both tails, both tails, and ears they have.
Both tails, both tails, and ears they have.
Nöff, nöff, nöff, nöff… (sound of pigs)

Midsummer Foods

To celebrate Midsummer, Swedes eat a lot of strawberries, baby potatoes, pickled herring, dill, “gräddfil” sour cream, chives and eggs. They also drink a lot of alcohol, mostly beer and schnapps. It is a tradition to sing schnapps-songs before they drink it.

Midsummer is a lively celebration of the summertime, and it’s filled with fun. As a result, the summer is a popular time of year for weddings and christening ceremonies. Anyone can celebrate Midsummer—here’s what you need to hold your own celebration this summer!

Flower Wreath

Women and children wear this on their heads.

Schnapps Glasses

Fill your glasses with schnapps and sing ”Helan går, sjung hopp faderallan lallan lej…” before you drink up like a real Swede.

Baby Potatoes

No midsummer celebration is without boiled baby potatoes. Serve with pickled herring, sour cream and some chives and dill.

Midsummer Dress

Anyone who wears this will look dreamy.

Dill

On this day, every Swede wants dill on top of their boiled egg halves with some mayonnaise.

Swedish Flag

Buy a Swedish flag to get the ultimate Midsummer feeling.

Dugges Beer

Alcohol is important on this day! Why not try Swedish beer?

Swedish Cider

Don’t like beer or schnapps? Celebrate with Swedish cider.