Celebrating midsummer in Sweden

June 25, 2011

in Cultural differences,Living in Europe,Stockholm,Sweden,Swedish food,Swedish traditions

midsommar table

Getting ready for the first round of eating. That's baby Adam in the front.

midsommar dance

Doing the small frog dance around the may pole. Notice the "no ears" hand gestures.

midsommar wreaths

Showing off the midsommar wreaths. Single girls are supposed to pick seven different flowers and put them under their pillow to dream of their future man!

Oh my, what a perfect day. Yesterday was midsommarafton or midsummer eve and it was a holiday, one of the very biggest in Sweden and it celebrates the arrival of summer and long light. We did it up Swedish style and went to Nici and Roger’s where we spent the entire day outside on their newly built jetty. The day before and today are both rainy and gray, but yesterday was sunny and perfect.

Swedish herring

Swedish herring and German beer.

vasterbotten cheese

Swedish cheese and snaps.

We started the day at 2 with champagne, then moved on to Swedish sill or herring, Västerbotten cheese, hard bread, and new potatoes with dill and cream. This was accompanied with German beer, Swedish and Norwegian snaps (vodka) and lots of drinking songs. That combination of food and drink left us ready to go so we crashed the next-door neighbor’s party. They’d created a small May pole of flowers and began doing the traditional dancing and singing around it and we felt compelled to join in. The neighbors were good sports about it and insisted we do several dances with them. Everyone’s favorite was Små grodorna or the little frogs and we did that dance – complete with movements demonstrating that small frogs have no ears and no tails – twice.

roger and the may pole

Roger and the may pole.

After a break, we then had a BBQ dinner of hamburgers and English sausages, followed by pavlova, a traditional Australian summer dessert that Robert made for us. As our group included Norwegians, Americans, Swedes and a German and Australian, it seemed appropriate to combine food and drinks from around the globe. We kept going until midnight and we all agreed we’d had the best midsommar ever. But let’s just say that we’re all moving slow today…


Pavlova is a meringue, cream, strawberries, bananas and passionfruit dream of a dessert.




Loving the sun. As the day wore on, the weather got cooler. But we stayed outside.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mary Jackson June 25, 2011 at 16:11

Love the pictures Sandra! Looks like you all had a great time.

2 maria June 25, 2011 at 19:14

Wow! Looks like Robert worked hard for that delicious looking pavlova!

3 Antropologa June 25, 2011 at 20:24

Very pretty!

Looks fun!

4 Sandra June 25, 2011 at 20:58

Thanks Maria, Mary and Antropologa. It was so pretty that it felt like we were in a magazine photo shoot.

5 Steve June 26, 2011 at 03:32

D’oh! I want to be eating pavlova in Sweden!

6 Sandra June 26, 2011 at 08:22

Stephen, Come on over! You can be here in 35 hours….

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