Archive for the ‘Holidays’ category

Midsummer

September 25, 2006

midsommar_dans.jpgPerhaps the most characteristically Swedish tradition of them all is the Midsummer celebration. The Midsummer holiday is celebrated on the weekend closest to 24 June, with Midsummer Eve on Friday followed by Midsummer Day on Saturday. Midsummer marks the longest day of the year, and the skies never really grow dark. We celebrate the light and the greening of the natural world.
Most Stockholmers leave to the archipelago or the countryside during Midsummer weekend, but those who stay behind in the city have many options, too. Skansen, the world´s oldest open-air museum, holds a grand and festive Midsummer celebration, with dancing and games to the tones of Swedish folk music. Many participants wear traditional folk costumes and wreaths of flowers in their hair. Midsummer is celebrated in similar fashion at locations throughout Stockholm. A maypole decorated with flowers and leaves is raised in a meadow. The maypole is put together in the shape of cross with wreaths hanging from its crosspiece. Once the maypole has been raised, the party can begin, with dancing, singing and games around the maypole followed by traditional dishes including herring (marinated with vinegar, sugar, onions and spices) and new potatoes. Beer and snaps wash down the food. One folk tradition that still lives on is that unmarried girls pick seven types of flowers during the night and put them under their pillow when they go to bed. According to tradition, they will dream of their husband to be.

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Swedish National Day

September 9, 2006

swedish_flag.jpgJune 6th is the Swedish National day, celebrating when Gustav Vasa became king in 1523. Vasa’s seizure of power ensured Swedish liberation from the Danes and thus, Sweden became an independent country. The celebration of the national day is not as big as in other countries, since Sweden never had a war of independence. There is usually some concerts, a smaller parade in Stockholm and the royal family will meet the people by the royal castle in Gamla Stan, Stockholm.