Fyrahundrasjuttiofjärde åseriet- Svensk Midsommar- Raggarbilar och raggsockor!

 

Midsommaren innebär en lång rad förväntningar. Man förväntar sig att vädret är toppen, med sol från en molnfri himmel. Man förväntar sig att färskpotatisen är superbillig och lagom stor, så att man har råd att frossa på dillbeströdd färskjopp med sill på längden och tvären! Dessutom hoppas man att skylten med ”svenska jordgubbar” är äkta, för inte kan väl belgiska jordgubbar passa en sådan dag som midsommarafton?  Hur äter du dina jordgubbar?

  1. Direkt som de är…med två fingrar om bladskaftet
  2. Med gräddmjölk
  3. Med vispad grädde
  4. Med vaniljglass
  5. Som jordgubbstårta
  6. Va? Jordgubbar? Äh!

På vägen till sitt midsommarfirande, tillbringar många svenskar tid på vägarna i sommarsverige. Långa bilköer genom svenska småstäder drar mot de platser där vi helst firar denna traditionsrika helg, skärgården eller Dalarna, gammelgårdar i socknar på landsbygden där det fortfarande finns ett folkdanslag och ett spelmanslag som kan hålla traditionen vid liv och kompa till Små grodorna… I många av dessa bilköer trängs barnfamiljer med far- och morföräldrar, cykelsemestrande holländare. Vissa trängs i risiga raggarbilar som kanske kommer att nå resmålet, medan andra glider fram i välskötta vrålåk vars lack gnistrar i solen…

När man äntligen nått fram, så förväntar man sig att midsommarstången ska resas på traditionellt vis till glada ”ååååå, HEJJJJJJJJ!” under ledning av någon klämkäck person i folkdräkt och slutligen förespeglar man sig en härlig midsommarfest i glada vänners lag med sill och nubbe och högt i tak.

I min ungdom letade jag upp ett antal gärdesgårdar i byn där vi firade midsommar. Där fanns faktiskt några att välja på! Vad gällde både blommorna och gärdesgårdarna, så hade jag fått lite olika råd och tips och de som verkade veta hur det skulle gå till, det här med plockandet och hoppandet, hade dessutom olika uppfattning om andra detaljer. Någon sa att man skulle plocka sju sorters blommor, en enda blomma av varje sort och därefter skulle man hoppa över sju gärdesgårdar. Någon annan menade att man skulle göra det, men också vara helt tyst för att inte bryta magin. Ytterligare någon menade att eftersom gärdesgårdar var så ovanliga, så kunde man lika gärna hoppa över vilket staket som helst. Så hur skulle jag göra?

Jag plockade de sju blommorna, hoppade över samma gärdesgård sju gånger, för att slippa springa runt i byn till de där andra… Sedan lade jag blommorna under min huvudkudde och förväntade mig att drömma om min tillkommande… Den natten drömde jag om en norsk backhoppare… Än har han inte presenterat sig i verkliga livet, men man ska ju aldrig sluta hoppas! 😀

Men handen på hjärtat: Nog är det ofta som midsommarafton är jättekall och blåsig? Eller är det bara inbillning? För något år sedan hade min familj och jag äntligen ryckt upp oss själva med rötterna för att ta reda på hur man brukade fira midsommar i någon annan del av Dalarna än den där vi brukade vara… Just det året var det koft- och raggsocksväder och vi frös så pass att vi fick avsluta kvällen inomhus. Så är den, den svenska sommaren, oförutsägbar, men ändå vacker!

The three hundred and eighty-ninth åsic- From Påskkärring to Tomten in Twenty Minutes!

A recycled blogpost from my visit in Pitman New Jersey 2014!

I have had another interesting day in Pitman Middle School busy with interaction with students and teachers. Today’s topic was a bit different from the other days, since one of the students wanted to know how we celebrated Halloween. I quickly commented on that, but then I shared photos of the tradition from Easter Thursday which is more like the American ”trick or treat” than anything else in our tradition. Kids dress out as witches, but not EVIL witches. They are supposed to be more CUTE than evil or ugly. A påskkärring is supposed to be a witch soon going off to ”Blåkulla” on her broomstick. The idea for the kids is to draw or write nice cards saying ”Happy Easter” and then walk from door to door with these greetings. If they are lucky people give them a little treat in return, but there is NO tricking…just the treat… They will keep the collected treats either in an old coffeepot or in a basket.

inbjudning-8-300x232.jpg (300×232)

I then got the question whether there were any other Holidays I would like to mention. I picked Midsummer, since that may be interesting if you haven’t experienced it. First of all, Midsummer is a fantastic time of the year anywhere in Sweden, thanks to the Nordic light, but in the Northern part of Sweden the sun doesn’t set at all for a couple of days, which gives your summer’s night a magic touch. Midsummer can be celebrated in many ways, but traditionally we would gather to raise a maypole covered with leaves and flowers and then dance round the maypole, both old and young. One of the most popular song has very easy lyrics and we all sang it as kids. It is called ”Små grodorna” which means ”The little frogs”.

It is said about Midsummer that you dream of your spouse to be if you gather seven flowers and jump over seven fences. But you have to be quiet if you don’t want to break the spell! You pick the flowers, put them under your pillow and in your dream you will meet the very person who will be your husband or wife. 

torsdag+011.jpg (320×240)

Suddenly someone wanted to know whether it was true that our Santa Claus doesn’t look quite like the American… so then we talked for a while about Tomten and the tradition of celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve rather than  on Christmas Day.

20772452-origpic-bc1600.png (393×381)

I was happy to have a computer to use to show pictures and talk about different details and finally I shared what TV-show most families watch on Christmas Eve. Kalle Ankas julafton… Donald Duck!

Glad påsk! (= Happy Easter)

Glad midsommar! (= Happy Midsummer’s Eve!)

God Jul! (=Merry Christmas)

Twohundred and Ninety-Third Asic- A hint of Swedish Midsummer

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.

Med ansiktet mot Siljan

Facing Lake Siljan

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!

Jag och pappa och mamma

Åsa, Dalke and Inger

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.

Trettondagsmarschen

Rättvikarnas gånglåt

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.

Karis Pers polska

Bränd-Pers vals

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).

Midsommarblomster#asaolePrästkrage

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

svenska flaggan

 

Would you like a second opinion on my version of Swedish Midsummer? 😉

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Twohundred and sixty-first asic- Let’s Make a Rock Carving!

Many years ago I went on an excursion in the village Nyberget, Stora Skedvi, where my mum grew up. We climbed a mountain just outside the village and the view was magnificent. The striking view was however not the purpose of this excursion, but instead we had all come to see for ourselves how young people from way back when had found a lot more important things to do on Midsummer’s Eve than to sing ”Små grodorna” and dance round the May Pole…

Lövåsberget med omnejd_Stora Skedvi

The lecturer, Stig Welinder, a well-known archeologist who at that time lived in the village, shared both details about many of the couples and facts found in the many church archives from the actual time. In Sweden it is possible to track our ancestors several hundred years back in time and this was also what the archeologist had done, in detail. He could tell stories of families with happy or sad moments in their lives, all facts verified and found in public archives where anyone could have found pretty much the same information if only we had spent that time. Many of the young couples in the local area had climbed this very mountain on Midsummer’s Eve to enjoy the sunset together.  To remember the day, they carved their names in the rocks on top of the mountain and also planned for a future life together. The place was well-known in the nearby villages as ”Skrivarhällen”(Welinder, 1992) and not just the teenagers from one of the villages climbed the mountain, but also those who lived on the other side of the mountain, a bit further away.

The rock carvings can still be found, if you first climb the mountain! 😀

Among other things that Welinder shared with us in his lecture, was the nature of names in Dalarna at the time when the rock carvings were made.  But there were just a few different names that seemed to be popular, and a few names were just the same, so in order to know who was who, you needed to add the name of the farm, or place, such as Petter Danielson, On the Hill. His son would be named after his father, Daniel Pettersson + On the Hill, and his son in turn, would most likely be called Petter Danielsson+ On the Hill… For women, the use of daughter would be used instead of son.

I would, for instance, have had the family name Dalkesdotter, since I am the daughter of Dalke. My brother would acoordingly have been called Dalkesson. During the 23 years I have been teaching I have noticed the change in naming. When I graduated in 1991, many of my first students had names that have been used in our country for generations. Boys names like Daniel, Peter, Mikael, Anders and girls names like Anna, Maria, Kristina, Helena, Ylva etc. But after a few years of teaching I noticed that many of the boys now rather had names like, Kevin, Justin, Jim, Tim, Tom and girls had names like Natalie, Felicia, Caroline, Nellie etc. Nowadays we find a lot of different names, a variation that can be connected to our complex world with input from not just the local area, but from other parts of the world.

namnbild.jpg (672×361)

My own name, Åsa, is from the time before Sweden was Christened and means ”goddess”. Very few little Åsa’s are to be found nowadays, but instead some of the names that I would connect to old relatives are coming up as new favourite names for kids. It’s funny how one sometimes hear parents call for their little ones and you expect a person in their seventies to approach behind a tree in the park, but instead a little toddler, called Bosse or Leif, will meet his Mom with a lovely smile!

toddlerRoundup-14.jpg (600×503)

My friend the archeologist from the mountain top is a very good example of being modern at the same time as he cherishes the value of how our ancestors chose to live their lives. What footprints or fingerprints will our generation leave? No mountains will be filled with names, but maybe we will share something else that is just as interesting and important? Let’s hope so!

Welinder, S (1992) on Skrivarhällen i southern Dalarna, Bergslagen, Sweden

The eightyninth åsic- From Påskkärring to Tomten in Twenty Minutes!

I have had another interesting day in Pitman Middle School filled with interaction with students and teachers. Today’s topic was a bit different from the other days, since one of the students wanted to know how we celebrated Halloween. I quickly commented on that, but then I shared photos of the tradition from Easter Thursday which is more like the American ”trick or treat” than anything else in our tradition. Kids dress out as witches, but not EVIL witches. They are supposed to be more CUTE than evil or ugly. A påskkärring is supposed to be a witch soon going off to ”Blåkulla” on her broomstick. The idea for the kids is to draw or write nice cards saying ”Happy Easter” and then walk from door to door with these greetings. If they are lucky people give them a little treat in return, but there is NO tricking…just the treat… They will keep the collected treats either in an old coffeepot or in a basket.

inbjudning-8-300x232.jpg (300×232)

I then got the question whether there were any other Holidays I would like to mention. I picked Midsummer, since that may be interesting if you haven’t experienced it. First of all, Midsummer is a fantastic time of the year anywhere in Sweden, thanks to the Nordic light, but in the Northern part of Sweden the sun doesn’t set at all for a couple of days, which gives your summer’s night a magic touch. Midsummer can be celebrated in many ways, but traditionally we would gather to raise a maypole covered with leaves and flowers and then dance round the maypole, both old and young. One of the most popular song has very easy lyrics and we all sang it as kids. It is called ”Små grodorna” which means ”The little frogs”.

It is said about Midsummer that you dream of your spouse to be if you gather seven flowers and jump over seven fences. But you have to be quiet if you don’t want to break the spell! You pick the flowers, put them under your pillow and in your dream you will meet the very person who will be your husband or wife. 

HVT26Midsommarmat.jpg (510×571)torsdag+011.jpg (320×240)

Suddenly someone wanted to know whether it was true that our Santa Claus doesn’t look quite like the American… so then we talked for a while about Tomten and the tradition of celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve rather than  on Christmas Day.

20772452-origpic-bc1600.png (393×381)

I was happy to have a computer to use to show pictures and talk about different details and finally I shared what TV-show most families watch on Christmas Eve. Kalle Ankas julafton… Donald Duck!

Glad påsk! (= Happy Easter)

Glad midsommar! (= Happy Midsummer’s Eve!)

God Jul! (=Merry Christmas)

One hundred and sixth åsic- What’s your name? Let’s make a rock carving!

Many years ago I went on an excursion in the village Nyberget, Stora Skedvi, where my mum grew up. We climbed a mountain just outside the village and the view was magnificent. The striking view was however not the purpose of this excursion, but instead we had all come to see for ourselves how young people from way back when had found a lot more important things to do on Midsummer’s Eve than to sing ”Små grodorna” and dance round the May Pole…

Lövåsberget med omnejd_Stora Skedvi

The lecturer, Stig Welinder, a well-known archeologist who at that time lived in the village, shared both details about many of the couples and facts found in the many church archives from the actual time. In Sweden it is possible to track our ancestors several hundred years back in time and this was also what the archeologist had done, in detail. He could tell stories of families with happy or sad moments in their lives, all facts verified and found in public archives where anyone could have found pretty much the same information if only we had spent that time. Many of the young couples in the local area had climbed this very mountain on Midsummer’s Eve to enjoy the sunset together.  To remember the day, they carved their names in the rocks on top of the mountain and also planned for a future life together. The place was well-known in the nearby villages as ”Skrivarhällen”(Welinder, 1992) and not just the teenagers from one of the villages climbed the mountain, but also those who lived on the other side of the mountain, a bit further away.

The rock carvings can still be found, if you first climb the mountain! 😀

Among other things that Welinder shared with us in his lecture, was the nature of names in Dalarna at the time when the rock carvings were made.  But there were just a few different names that seemed to be popular, and a few names were just the same, so in order to know who was who, you needed to add the name of the farm, or place, such as Petter Danielson, On the Hill. His son would be named after his father, Daniel Pettersson + On the Hill, and his son in turn, would most likely be called Petter Danielsson+ On the Hill… For women, the use of daughter would be used instead of son.

I would, for instance, have had the family name Dalkesdotter, since I am the daughter of Dalke. My brother would acoordingly have been called Dalkesson. During the 23 years I have been teaching I have noticed the change in naming. When I graduated in 1991, many of my first students had names that have been used in our country for generations. Boys names like Daniel, Peter, Mikael, Anders and girls names like Anna, Maria, Kristina, Helena, Ylva etc. But after a few years of teaching I noticed that many of the boys now rather had names like, Kevin, Justin, Jim, Tim, Tom and girls had names like Natalie, Felicia, Caroline, Nellie etc. Nowadays we find a lot of different names, a variation that can be connected to our complex world with input from not just the local area, but from other parts of the world.

namnbild.jpg (672×361)

My own name, Åsa, is from the time before Sweden was Christened and means ”goddess”. Very few little Åsa’s are to be found nowadays, but instead some of the names that I would connect to old relatives are coming up as new favourite names for kids. It’s funny how one sometimes hear parents call for their little ones and you expect a person in their seventies to approach behind a tree in the park, but instead a little toddler, called Bosse or Leif, will meet his Mom with a lovely smile!

toddlerRoundup-14.jpg (600×503)

My friend the archeologist from the mountain top is a very good example of being modern at the same time as he cherishes the value of how our ancestors chose to live their lives. What footprints or fingerprints will our generation leave? No mountains will be filled with names, but maybe we will share something else that is just as interesting and important? Let’s hope so!

Welinder, S (1992) on Skrivarhällen i southern Dalarna, Bergslagen, Sweden