Wild strawberries-midsummer in Stockholm

This weekend it was midsummer in Sweden and everyone had their herring and strawberries and danced around the maypole. Indoors presumably because it was pretty dead on the streets. Most of the shops were closed on Friday and Saturday so the normal throngs of people having their afternoon fika (coffee and cake) disappeared. It makes a big contrast to the weekend befores' royal wedding where the whole of Stockholm turned out. I've heard though that the Swedes like to celebtrate in the country so presumably they all went bush.

Midsummer has been celebrated here since pagan times to welcome in the summer and the season of fertility. It involves the making and raising of a maypole which you dance around in traditional costumes and sing traditional songs. They'd been raised around town during the wedding period of the past few weeks and now I know what they symbolise.

 Close up of a runestone at Skansen. Runic was the language used before the Latin script in Sweden.

 Wildflowers are blooming everywhere at the moment.

We went to celebrate at Skansen on the inner city island named Djurgården where (according to the guidebooks) many Stockholmers go for traditional celebrations though there was only a small crowd and a few people in traditional costumes which was a bit disappointing. I expected to see everyone dressed up.

People of all ages were folk dancing though and I did see one small group dancing around a maypole. We chickened out and just watched but it looked like fun. People were mainly dotted around the picturesque Skansen park in small groups drinking beer and eating herring in the evening sun in a fairly sedate manner. It was a beautiful evening for it though. We had some icecreams and looked at the moose, elk and bears looking at us.

Midsummer is the shortest night in the year. And I'm glad it's over. Even though it is great going out in the evening I haven't quite got used to the light at 3am. The cat thinks it's playtime at 4am and trys to wake you up by jumping up and down on the bed. Great. Many times I've woken up thinking it's 8am and it's 3.30 or 4am. The solution is eyemasks which I wear religiously though they can be scary for your beloved.

Read more about Djurgården here.


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