Food and Drinks
The middle of June is right in time for the delicious summer strawberries that Swedes wait all year for. They are often used to make “jordgubbstårta,” a strawberry shortcake with strawberries, whipped cream, and a homemade butter cake.
Another popular dish is “sill,” or herring as it is known in English. This raw fish is salted and pickled and can be bought in a variety of jarred flavors.
The Swedes also love to eat the new summer potatoes. The dish is usually very simple with just a dash of butter and some dill sprinkled on top.
In terms of drinks, alcohol is consumed in great amounts during Midsummer. The most popular drinks are schnapps and beer.
One tradition is for young girls to pick seven different kinds of wildflowers on Midsummer’s Eve to put under their pillows when they sleep. If they do this they will dream of their true love that night. Midsummer’s Eve is generally considered a night of romance and is filled with old rituals to help young women find love. 1
Music and Dancing
There are so many popular songs about summer in Sweden, many of which are played and performed during Midsummer. These some of the more well-known songs listed below. Click on the titles to listen to them.
Sommar, Sommar,Sommar This song is often sung on television programs and just generally praises summer.
Idas Sommarvisa This song is written from the point of view of summer. One of the translated lines is: “I make the flowers bloom, I make the meadows green, and now summer is here because I have melted the snow.” Sommaren Är Min The chorus of this song is: “I want to sing that the summer is mine.”
There are also simpler songs which are sung and danced to around the maypole. One of the most well-known midsummer songs, which is a part of any celebration, is the song “Små Grodorna,” which means “Little frogs.”
Songs such as this one may sound silly but many of them date back several hundred years and everyone partakes in singing them, even adults.
Below is a video giving you a taste of a typical Swedish midsummer dance.
- Tidholm, Po. “Midsummer.” SWEDEN.SE – The Official Gateway to Sweden. Sweden.se, 2004. Web. 18 May 2011. <http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Lifestyle/Traditions/Celebrating-the-Swedish-way/Midsummer/>. ↩