Around the world, different cultures and countries celebrate the day of the year where the sun reaches its highest position in the sky. This is also the day of the year which has the longest period of sunlight. Midsummer, as the day is called, is also proudly celebrated in Scandinavia, although the traditions differ between each country.
In Denmark, people typically build bonfires on the beach or on lake shores, which are meant to repel witches and other evil spirits. There is often music and picnics, and speeches by local leaders, and sometimes even fireworks. One of the superstitions of the day states that if it rains during the celebrations, the rain will continue for another 6 weeks.
A bonfire is also one of the main celebrations in Norway, and the country once held the record for the world’s tallest bonfire. During the Midsummer celebrations in 2016, the flames reached a height of over 47 meters! In certain parts of Norway, there is also a tradition of arranging mock weddings, both between adults and between children. The weddings are carried out to symbolize the blossoming of a new life.
In Sweden, the celebrations do not involve fire. Instead, people dance around a tall, wooden pole, typically erected in parks. The pole is typically covered in greenery, and greenery is also placed on houses in order to bring good fortune and health. Some people also believe that if a girl picks 7 different flowers on Midsummer and places them underneath her pillow, she will dream of her future husband.
In 2021, Midsummer will be celebrated on the evening of 23 June in Denmark and Norway, and on 25-26 June in Sweden. So if you get a chance to visit any of these countries in the next few weeks, be sure to check out the local Midsummer celebrations!