Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Glad Midsommar!

Midsommar dancing. Photo: Calle Eklund
At the time when the days are at their longest and the nights the shortest, all of Scandinavia rolls out to celebrate Midsommar. A festival that marks the beginning of summer holidays, Midsommar has its roots in a celebration of the summer equinox. The sun is warm, winter is a far away memory, and the wildflowers are in bloom. From the Atlantic fjords of Norway all the way across to the Baltic beaches in Finland, huge pyres are built for a midnight bonfire. In villages and town squares across Sweden, people gather in the morning to drink coffee, collect wildflowers and erect the maypole. Biscuits are baked and potatoes scrubbed for the afternoon meal, and everyone gets ready for an evening of beer and schnapps and music. In some places, folklore has it that young women collect seven different kinds of wildflowers to hide under their pillows so that they will dream of their future husbands.

A bonfire in western Norway. Photo: Asmund Heimark
It’s an evening meant to be enjoyed with friends and family, enjoying the summer warmth (but don’t forget your wollens: it’s still Scandinavia) and the camaraderie built around fire and food. On the typical smörgåsbord is pickled herring (often served with rye bread, salted butter, and creme fraiche), cheeses, roasted salmon, boiled new potatoes with dill, and maybe some elk or venison if you have a hunter in the family. The efterrätt (dessert) is fresh strawberries, having just come into season around the time of Midsommar, eaten by themselves or heaped onto a sponge cake and lashed with heavy cream.
Cured salmon and new potatoes, and a beer, of course.
After dinner is a time for music and dancing, be it traditional folk music around a maypole, ballroom dancing on a stage by a lake, or friends around a campfire with a guitar. In every Scandinavian country there are drinking songs (the racier the better!) that are sung as the bottle of akvavit or schnapps is passed around. As the hour grows late (but the sky stays light, or depending on how far north you are, it remains daytime), one thing you will notice is your fellow revellers are not too interested in sleep. As one Norwegian friend noted: “Sleep? That’s what you do in winter.”

Come in and say hi!

 Check out fjorn.com during our Midsommar Sale to lay the perfect smörgåsbord or get your garden ready for a party -- or stop into our store at the Pine Inn in sunny Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Glad Midsommar!