A couple of years ago, I experienced a very cold Midsummer’s Eve in the middle of Dalarna, Sweden. It was impossible to keep warm and later in the evening, I spent time in my sauna, which was indeed the very first time during summer! The lake I admire in the picture is called Siljan and that is the biggest lake in our county, however the other lake , called Väsman, close to my own town Ludvika, is also very beautiful.
In this post I’d like to share a few photos from this morning when I was out walking. I hope you enjoy the scenery! The flowers are all typical for this time of the year and we use them when we make wreaths for our Midsummer celebration. This year I will most likely spend my Midsummer’s Eve in San Francisco, California, so I deciced to just add a little Midsummer feeling two weeks ahead of time… 😉 First a picture from long ago… Thank you Mom and Dad for sharing the typical traditions of our country!
Almost every Midsummer’s Eve all my life, I’ve spent in a church village called Stora Skedvi. I’d like to share a few of those very typical fiddle tunes with you, although here they are not played by my father’s group of fiddlers… First a march called #Trettondagsmarschen, that is usually played as the opening of #Bingsjöstämman, a get-together for fiddlers and those who love folk music, usually held the first week of July every summer. The second march is called #Rättvikarnas gånglåt and is also very famous.
A couple of hundred years ago, people used this kind of music to endure longer walks, such as when they walked from their part of Sweden to the capital city of Stockholm for work opportunities there. It was easier to walk when someone played the fiddle… But instead of Spotify and iTunes for us, the fiddlers also shared their music willingly for dances in the evenings when all had stopped to rest for the night. A typical dance in my part of Sweden would be a ”polska” (Polish, as in from Poland), #Karis-Pers polska which is a slow dance with a high degree of sensuality between the two dancers, a man and woman… But a valse like #Bränd-Pers vals would also be appreciated by the dancing crowd. In some parts of Sweden it is possible to still dance these more traditional dances to live groups of fiddlers.
The celebration of Midsummer in all parts of Sweden is very traditional, but Dalarna is known for the tight connection between folkmusic and folkloristic traditions in general. Fiddlers playing their special music first of all, but also playing to typical dances for kids and adults. Crowds gather round Maypoles dancing together for fun as in ”Små grodorna” (the little frogs), or other such songs.
In Dalarna where I live, every little village proudly present a unique variety of traditions, unlike that of the village a few kilometers away. The food may vary, too, although most people would have sill (pickled herring) and fresh potatoes with sour cream and crisp bread with butter and cheese. Many would probably also have some strawberry cake with lots of thick cream (jordgubbstårta).
This year I will not be home for Midsummer. I will most certainly think of days in the past when I celebrated Midsummer, but I will also find ways to make this year’s Midsummer’s Eve memorable, although I will spend it abroad. I wish you all a lovely summer and hope you will follow my blogposts from over there… Look out for blogposts with the hashtag #Swedish tourist in the USA
Would you like a second opinion on my version of Swedish Midsummer? 😉