My colleagues at the office went on and on last week about rain on Midsommar, and how a typical family feast includes skittering out to the BBQ and back in to get dry. After all that talk, this year’s event sported blue skies, all day long.
We went out to Åkersberga to celebrate this holiday last Friday with some friends and their kids — Matt was told by the father that Midsommar in Sweden is “bigger than Christmas!” It took a little while to sink in how true this was: The usual holiday schedules dampened the buses, and the streets were absolutely empty. We rented a car to get out to this little burg, and the highway was nearly completely ours. And it also seemed like everything we needed closed for most of the weekend, including favorite restaurants and local shops. On the other hand, by Sunday, most of the main shopping drag on Drottninggatan was open, with sales! How much closer to Christmas can you get?
We spent the afternoon out on a grassy field where Åkersberga’s locals had erected a Midsommar pole, wound with ivy and wildflowers and hung with two circular wreaths from the cross beam. And we danced: A man in traditional dress led us in a folk circle, singing all the way. The centerpiece of the afternoon is the “hopping” song, I was told — during the chorus, everyone hops like a frog. It was so fun and funny, I felt like I was at summer camp! Most impressive was the MC’s mother, also in traditional dress, appearing to be somewhere around 90, and hopping with the rest of us.
After that, games and food back at our friends’ little house in the woods. And we managed to pick up our houseguests, T&E, from Arlanda Airport and zoom back for more. It was light until past 11 pm as we headed home, stuffed and exhausted.
And the weather remained clear until the next day — when it rained of course, just in time for us to be tourists around town. We had a lot of fun anyway, and whenever the weather cleared, the sunshine felt delicious!