Midsummer, celebrated on the Friday and Saturday that fall between June 19th and June 25th is probably the most uniquely Swedish of all our holidays. The main celebrations take place on the Friday, Midsummer Eve and traditionally include raising and dancing around a huge maypole (majstång), nowadays more commonly called midsummer-pole (midsommarstång), decorated with leaves and flowers. Folk musicians and dancers often wear traditional costumes.
I went to the midsummer celebration in our museum park this afternoon in the hope of getting some pictures of a folk dance performance. It turned out to be so crowded I could not get close enough for that. But the photos will give you an idea of the popularity of the celebration.
You may notice some girls and women wearing flower wreaths on their heads. That is one midsummer tradition. Another is to pick seven or nine different wild flowers and put them under your pillow at night. Then in your dream you are supposed to see your future spouse. Traditionally, Midsummer was thought to be one of the times of the year when magic was strong, so a good night to perform rituals to look into the future.
The old buildings in the museum park have been moved there from their original sites.
In the second picture, if you wonder about the stony ground, that is a classic labyrinth (link to Wikipedia article).
PS. Inspired by a question about the labyrinth I’m putting in a separate post about that in my Island of Voices blog – Labyrinth of Life.