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Midsummer For Dummies: The Sweden Edition

Midsummer is the biggest celebration of the year in Sweden and is a tradition that celebrates the summer solstice (the longest day of the year). It dates back hundreds of years and was used to ensure a good harvest and the fertilization of the ground.

Midsummer comes second only to Christmas but with its various celebratory traditions it’s a wonder the festival hasn’t taken first place.   It is a special time when the booze overfloweth, everyone eats stinky bits of raw fish, children dance around a large decorated pole that resembles the male anatomy, dirty folk songs are sung and everyone is expected to hop around like a frog. If you don’t know the old folk songs, pretend you do because there’s little time spent on “what you should know” as there’s too much partying to do. 

Spiced schnapps is the staple beverage other than beer. Before sipping, you must sing a folk song and then cheers or “skol” looking each person around the table in the eyes starting from the left and ending on the person beside you on your right…who you then must look at again after your sip. Serious midsummer practitioners will call you out if you slip up so it’s a good idea to brush up on your schnapps drinking skills. Skol!
Excuse me sir, but there’s a hipster floating in my latte. It’s a fact; the most hipsters live in Sweden. If you aspire to anything otherwise you stick out like a sore thumb and people stare at you oddly as if you are from a mysterious land.
Beer is to Sweden as tea is to Britain. Since prehistory, beer was the staple beverage in Sweden, drunk in extreme quantities to balance the salty food—pickled herring. Interestingly enough, for as much as they drink at Midsummer, Swedish average alcohol consumption declined in 2009, in comparison with 2008.
http://www.thelocal.se/32146/20110219/.
Almost everything in Sweden once “burned down” but that’s no surprise when every other building is a medieval castle or farm house. And the Swedes don’t seem to phased by it either as candle stick candelabras and open fire fireplaces are still in use today.
Pickled Herring has a strong odor, a unique flavour and is considered an acquired taste even among Swedes. Like many things that taste bad to us, these slimy bits are for you. Studies have shown that herring aids our cardiovascular health, aid in cancer prevention and enhances our cognitive function. No fishing way?!
http://www.livestrong.com/article/364955-benefits-of-pickled-herring/
Just something silly the Swedes put together for Midsummer hooliganry.
A little boy’s play thing? A giant’s cocktail sword? Make of it what you will because the symbolism of the Swedish maypole has been debated by folklorists and historians for centuries and no conclusion has been reached.
Legend has it that on Midsummer’s eve young girls should place seven different kinds of flowers beneath their pillow in the hopes that they will dream of their future husband. Should you end up single, into women or married to a guy that looks nothing like your dream guy, then you simply picked the wrong flowers.
Did you know that there are 180 calories in a 6 meatballs serving of Ikea Swedish Meatballs?
http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/ikea/swedish-meatballs
If you’re not okay with being alone, don’t head into the city on Midsummer. These are now ghost towns as everyone has ventured into the countryside for the celebrations. Sweden – where the suburbs are where it’s at!
Strawberries and cream in its many variations and crafty delicatessen attempts are to be expected after every lunch and dinner. With such intake overload you might actually turn yourself into a strawberry. No joke, you can actually get hives from eating too many strawberries.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/478671-can-eating-too-many-strawberries-cause-hives/

One comment on “Midsummer For Dummies: The Sweden Edition

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    April 19, 2013

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