Saturday, April 14, 2012

M ~ midsommar = summer solstice

It's rather fitting that half-way through our challenge we come to today's topic of midsommar. You already learned sommar (sum + are). Mid is pronounced “mead” as in the fermented beverage made from honey. Can you guess the compound word?

google image

Middle of summer. Summer solstice. June 20th or 21st depending on the year. In Sweden, this is a big deal and celebrated in a big way. I'll be sharing my childhood memories, and based on what google has helped me find, my memories appear to be rather intact.

The most memorable part of the celebration for me was the dancing. I've always loved to dance, and dancing around the decorated pole is a treasured memory. The post card above shows a typical midsommar dance. (In Swedish dance is dans as in dunce, go sit in the corner.)

There are a lot of different traditional dances that are performed during the celebration. I guess the easiest way to describe them is that they are called out just like in square dancing, and a lot of the moves are similar. The music is sometimes live, but not always. Some dances are very complex, and  take an hour or more to finish with all kinds of complicated moves. Not individual moves, but group moves. In one part of my favorite dance of this type, Polynåsen, all the dancers are connected in interlocking rings that move around and through each other. You don't have to be an expert or have studied these, but it helps to have a strong partner. Anna, you gotta help me out here. I couldn't make YouTube speak Swedish like I can google...

The other part I really liked was making the flower wreaths for our hair. We wore these during the midsommar celebration. Some girls had the traditional Swedish dresses to wear for the party – each county has it's own style – but the rest of us just wore a skirt and blouse. Skirts are very popular. Girls threw them on like we do a pair of jeans. Took me a while to adjust when I was 14, but by the time I returned at 16, I knew the drill and came prepared.

google image

The final tradition I'd like to share is the flowers under the pillow. Legend says that if you find seven different wildflowers and put them under your pillow when you go to bed on midsommar night, you will dream of your future love. I of course tried this many times, but since there was very little sleeping these night, there wasn't much chance of me dreaming of my intended.

It was really special to watch the sun start to set, and a sort of twilight settle in, but before we were even aware of that, it started getting lighter again. I think we went to bed around 3 am the year I was 16. After all, we were at camp, the counselors had long since gone to bed, and we were young and hopeful, and had just spent the evening dancing and dreaming, with flowers in our hair and the future ahead of us. Still young enough to think that life will turn out great, if you just dream hard enough. With seven flowers under your pillow.


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Vacker text! Jag hade inte kunnat beskriva midsommarfirandet bättre!

Vad behöver du hjälp med?

Wonderful post! I could not have described Midsommar in Sweden better.

See folks, I can write it twice!

DL Hammons said...

Around here, with temperatures approaching the 95-100 mark, the only thing I'm celebrating is that its (hopefully) half-way over! :)

Brian Miller said...

the flowers in the hair are def cute....and i am down with any reason to celebrate you know..smiles.

Unknown said...

Hej Tina!
Hoppas att Din son mår bra.

Inger said...

How fun, we both wrote about Midsummer for the letter M, but covered different aspects of that beautiful time of year in Sweden. I enjoyed your description of the dances around the Maypole.

Nikki said...

Lovely post! I had my first Swedish Midsommar last year and I loved it so so much! I made a kranse, which was so pretty and I loved collecting up all the flowers for it beforehand. Thank you for the lovely memory!

Nikki – inspire nordic

Anonymous said...

Midsommar - it can't be more "svenskt" than this - you have given a beautiful picture.
Was playing with the thought myself to use Midsommar, but I will save it until June.

This year will I put 7 guys under my pillow instead and try to dream about flowers.

Half way now .. well done.

klahanie said...

Hey Tina,
How wonderful and some of the traditions you note are rather similar to what they get up to in lil' ol' England. They have the Maypole dancers during what is called "Well Dressing".
Summer solstice is a big deal in the town I live. Leek is famous for its "double sunset" on the summer solstice and strange folks with long hair and weird beads, dance the night away in this town. Of course I'm involved :)
Oh, by the way, I did my "M" posting on the challenge I'm not involved in, on Friday the 13th :)
Have fun, enjoy the alphabet challenge. Kind wishes and seven flowers under your pillow, Gary....

Elizabeth said...

This reminds me of May Day celebrations that used to be held in many countries on May 1. There would be dancing around a may pole and people would secretly leave flowers on others doorstep. Lovely customs, so sad that they die out.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just don't ask me to dance.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

and here we're heading into winter and I'm very unimpressed.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

So sweet. and we're heading into winter here.

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

I always love celebrations steeped in traditions and this is beautiful. Great fun and post. I hope you post a list of all the words we've learned since the challenge.

ediFanoB said...

Midsommar = Summer solstice = Sommersonnenwende.

Sommer = summer
Sonnenwende = solstice.

Tack for another great post.

'm afraid I can't visit your blog until next weekend due to lack of time.
Please do not think that I do not like your posts any longer.

Ainsley Shay said...

Going to pick flowers...