I have to admit that before I moved to Sweden, I‘d never heard of Midsummer, or Midsommar. Even though it‘s actually one of the biggest events of the year, which the Nordic peoples in particular often celebrate peacefully with their family or, on the contrary, throw a riotous party featuring wild frog dance and figurines, after which one often ends up bending over the toilet bowl. Why should we welcome summer just as enthusiastically in the Czech Republic? I could give you plenty of reasons!
Right at the start, I‘d like to say that I celebrate about three events a year. Christmas, my birthday and other people‘s birthdays. After the first Midsummer I experienced in Sweden, which falls on the weekend of the week between June 19 and June 26, I am positive that that my list will grow. This holiday associated with the welcoming of the summer solstice has its unique charm. It‘s logical that, since the Nordic countries suffer more intense winters and are shrouded in darkness for a greater part of the year than the southern ones, they welcome summer with a huge parade. But don't we Czechs love summer and warm weather just the same? Yes, as soon as September comes, we‘re already crazy excited about going to the mountains and racing down the slopes, but a couple of months later we begin daydreaming about lazying on the beach with a drink in our hand and the blazing sun above our head again... Or at least the vast majority of us.
It‘s easy: you can celebrate the arrival of summer in pretty much any fun way that comes to mind. Exchange the hustle and bustle of the city for quiet countryside, spend wholesome time with your family and a heap of yummy food, play games, enjoy BBQ, weave wreaths, have multiple shots at a time, hang out in a city park, take a boat ride on the water, swim in a lake, attend social events associated with the maypole, a rich program and traditions or have a blast doing the so-called Små grodorna alias Frog dance.
I have to admit that I'm really sorry that I was deprived of this dance, in which you jump like a frog with your arms behind your, this year. All the mass events associated with this dance have been canceled due to coronavirus - but hey, it‘s one more reason to look forward to next year. Maybe in 2021, I‘ll be able to jump in a circle like a native Swedish amphibian without any restraints.
Like most holidays, Midsummer is associated with a number of traditions. Which do I find the most interesting and... the funniest?
Every romantic soul will enjoy feeling like a magical fairy for at least one weekend a year, when she slips into a delicate dress and places a handmade or bought flower wreath on her head. Personally, I fell in love with our wreath that I‘d created together with my sister at first sight, and if I had the choice, I‘d never take it off.
Although the Swedes are one of the more reserved nations, along with the growing amount of alcohol consumed and the typical "Schnapps", they do lose their inhibitions. In practice, this means that, according to old traditions, they head to the water at night, throw off their swimsuits and enjoy skinny dipping. Uhm... I really don‘t mind waiting with this for the next year...
According to an old rule, if a girl collects 7 types of flowers during the day and puts them under her pillow before going to bed, she will dream of her future husband. I decided not to try this year; let‘s see if I‘ll be more brave next time. Hopefully it won't turn into a nightmare...
As a food lover, I really enjoyed the days spent at the laid tables, where typical Swedish delicacies were served in the form of a buffet. Potatoes prepared in various ways, salads, meatballs, eggs, sausages, several kinds of fish including salmon or herring, vegetables and fruits, onions with chives, pastries with spreads or my favorite Skagenröra, which is a Swedish cream specialty with shrimp, dill, lemon and mayonnaise. As a dessert, they usually serve an amazing strawberry cake made of whipped egg whites that literally melts on our tongue. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
I personally enjoyed Midsummer from start to finish with all the glory, probably because I‘d decided for the golden middle way. What do I mean by that? A few shots, a lot of nature and food, a lot of love. No, not the orgy related kind!!! I spent the first two days with my family and acquaintances outside Stockholm and went to a summer house in the village of Boo and a family house in Ekerö. Both of these places boast beautiful nature and perfect tranquility. On Sunday, for a change, I decided to go to Stockholm Park with a blanket and punch in my hand and fully enjoy the sun. And before I say my good-byes, I‘ll give you a piece of advice that I didn‘t have...
The sun in Stockholm is about ten times stronger than in our country, maybe that's why people here love and celebrate it so much. So don‘t forget to slap some sunscreen on and wear a ponytail! Otherwise it can easily happen that you‘ll go get home with white stripes of skin along your hairline and with your nose, cheeks and forehead resembling a lobster, wondering whether or not your skin will peel off by the next morning. But you know what? I really love this Midsummer, even though I now look like a huge fan of Slavia, sporting its two key colors on my face! And so I urge you all - let's introduce Midsummer in the Czech Republic, please!