MIDSUMMER Apart from Christmas and Lucia, Midsummer is probably one of our favourite holidays. This is when we welcome the summer and dance around the maypole (adorned with leaves and flowers) after which we brave the outdoors eating herring and fresh potatoes, singing and drinking snaps until the wee hours - not forgetting Swedish strawberries for dessert!

Originally this day was celebrated in honour of John the Baptist, but this has long been forgotten. During the pre-Christian era this was also the solstice festival. The eve of Midsummer was said to be filled with magic - young maidens would pick 7 different flowers, place them under their cushions at night, hoping their future husbands would appear in their dreams. The tradition of decorating the maypole with leaves originally came from Germany during the Middle Ages. Wreaths of wild flowers and birch are twined and worn as "crowns" and no Midsummer celebration is complete without Små grodorna, a dance in which people of all ages hop around the pole while singing about little frogs! If you are living in Stockholm you can visit Skansen if you want to join in and celebrate Midsummer like a Swede!

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