By far my favorite experience of Sweden thus far has been the celebration of Midsommar, and like many Swedes have told me, it’s nothing like the movie. While there is still dancing around the maypole and flower crowns everywhere you look, there are vast differences between the film starring Florence Pugh and the actual holiday.
Midsommar is a two day celebration in which Swedes take the entire day off to celebrate the warm weather and welcome the emergence of summer in Sweden. My day started by heading to Skansen, the world’s largest open air museum. Skansen has an aquarium, a zoo, and an old historic town to take you back in time, along with tons of fields of flowers and beautiful nature. The flower fields came in handy when it came time for me to participate in one of the most popular traditions of Midsommar, making flower crowns! This was definitely my favorite part of the celebration. I enjoyed sitting in the cool shade with my friends (seeing that it gets up to 80 degrees fahrenheit in the summer!) and just relaxing as I weaved daisys throughout my crown. Additionally, seeing all of the other amazing creations that both my friends and locals were able to come up with was a beautiful sight to see.
After making our crowns, my friends and I headed to the Maypole to see Swedes dancing around it and decorating it with flowers. It was an interesting tradition that I had never seen before! I was trying to think of holidays in America that I could compare it to, but I don’t think I can name any. Of course we have the Fourth of July back home, but that’s a summer celebration of our independence, whereas Midsommar is just a celebration and appreciation for warm weather and good company. It was truly a unique experience that I’m grateful I got to go partake in.
I went to the park with some of my friends to watch the sunset (because it lasts for hours on Midsommar, it’s the longest day of the year!) where we ended up meeting a group of local swedes around our age. We talked for hours about the differences between American and Swedish culture, and just had a great time enjoying each other’s company. They taught us a traditional frog dance, which is performed around the maypole, and also taught us a popular Swedish game called kubb. The sun never really set, so we were able to stay out for hours and stare at the warm shades of orange and pink in the sky. It was the perfect way to end the holiday, spending time with both my American friends, and my new Swedish ones!