My Birthday is on June 21st. The middle of Summer. I think that’s why I love the sunshine so much. I think the only people to enjoy midsummer more than I are probably the Swedes.
They have a whole celebration around it that’s unlike anything I’ve seen. It’s like a warm Christmas with Midsummer poles, garlands and dancing (and drinking).
It has a history that goes back hundreds of years to Viking times. In fact, they don’t always celebrate Midsummer on my birthday (official midsummer) they go by the more party-friendly calendar – i.e. whatever day happens to be Saturday and is after the 21st.
So in June 2017 after spending the hottest midsummer in British History on my birthday in Maidenhead (pictured above), we headed to Gothenburg to our Swedish friends Kendra and Jimmy for a midsummer weekend in the remote Swedish countryside.
Driving up I was struck by how similar some of the houses and farms looked to houses I’d seen on the East Coast of the USA. I later learned that one in five Swedes moved to the US in19th and early 20th centuries. They took their architecture with them!
We stayed at a lovely AirBnB in Bäcken in the middle of nowhere! It was perfect for kids – with swings and woods and flower picking and a very well used trampoline!
Part of the Swedish Midsummer tradition is to build a Midsummer Pole – Google tells me this comes from the German Maypole tradition – brought over by German traders. I see the resemblance!
After building the pole you have to dance around it. This was achieved with surprisingly little alcohol.
That came later as we stayed up through the night swapping stories as the sun barely dipped under the horizon.
I would recommend a Swedish midsummer to anyone – especially if you can do it in the wilds of Sweden!