Happy Midsummer!

Writing this in beautiful Sweden where the night is still light at 11:00 pm, and the sound of revelry lies faintly on the strong summer breeze.  We went to a traditional Swedish Midsommar celebration with dancing around the may pole, and band of 4 playing accordians and fiddles to picnicers in the grass today. Master L. felt too grown-up to dance, but I was happy to have his 8 year old sister's hand to hold onto and swing to the traditional music.  Here's a link to an article I really enjoyed about one person's memories of a Swedish Midsummer written by Danielle Pergament in the New York Times travel edition on May 10th.  She does a lovely job of explaining how we celebrate this special holiday, A Midsummer's Day Dream in Sweden.
But for those of you who can't make it to Sweden here's a list of some festivals back home in the States.  The featured one is in Gerry NY, and it is in July so you haven't missed it! Swedish festival.

One day later: I'm adding a little note about a Midsummer Day event unique to Skanör-Falsterbo that we went to called Linnestången at 3pm.  The kids thought it was about as interesting as watching paint dry but they were good sports, and Mama bribed them with ice-cream so it went well (I actually thought it was charming).

Carl von Linné came to the southern part of Sweden in 1749 and reported the strange and beautiful Midsummer pole that he had seen.   – På sitt besök hör i Skanör på midsommar såg han en stång som han beskrev som särskilt märkvärdig och vacker, berättar Gert Mårtensson, som ansvarar för Linnéstången inom hembygdsgillet.

The raising of the pole, which is actually a boat mast because they had no trees back then (?), is special in that it is decorated in front of the audience by many people wearing folk costumes while being gently admonished by the man in charge.  It's quite a difficult job made easier by the big cat in the background - some sort of truck that pulls the pole into place - with all its festive wreaths in place.

This takes about an hour all told so as you can imagine the youngest one was squirming but I found it interesting and loved being part of the community of people willing to forgo all electronics for an hour of watching heavily dressed Swedes wrestle with big machinery and giant wreaths, all while dancing, playing and smiling.  Plus there were even Ukrainians taking part this year, not sure why, but they added to the show with their own special dance and some whip snapping that was spectacular and added to my son's interest level going up.


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