From day to evening – Midsummer on the Åland Islands

SE Midsummer intext ENIt’s almost that time of the year again in Scandinavia and Finland, when the fact that the sun (almost) never goes down is being celebrated. Unfortunately, this year it doesn’t seem like the weather gods will be on our side, with alarming reports of snow earlier this week. But let us all keep our fingers crossed for sunshine, since the main celebrations take place outdoors.

In this article, I will give you an example of what the celebrations may be like where I come from. You get this in the format of a time table. Here we go!

Midsummer’s Eve: Friday 20 June

10 am You decorate your house/apartment block etc. with wreaths, bouquets of summer flowers and small birch trees (yes, real ones of course).

11.45 am Last minute, panickingly and crowded with tourists, you try to do your final grocery shopping before the stores close at 12 sharp.

2 pm The women help to do the final decorations of the maypole, and the men then put all their might together in order to erect this big-ass phallus symbol celebrating fertility, good harvest and the likes. Then the Song of the Ålander is sung, and the traditional dancing around the maypole commence for everyone, both young and old!

6 pm A full-blown barbeque is held outside in your garden/on your boat/by the beach etc. Apart from all sorts of grilled meat and vegetables, you have fresh potatoes with dill and butter along with pickled herring. To this, you drink schnapps and sing drinking songs at the top of your lungs accompanied by good friends and family.

10 pm You attend the traditional midsummer dance, held at the local youth centre or village hall, with perhaps the intention of finding appropriate company to watch the sun almost go down, before it immediately goes up again?

Midsummer’s Day: Saturday 21 June

~04 am (or whenever you finish partying) The girls in the group get all superstitious, and scurry around to pick seven different flowers to put under their pillow. Why you ask? Well, in order to dream about their future husband to be, of course!

Bottoms up, and happy Midsummer!


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