Stockholm's Archipelago: Midsummer in Muskö

by Talia Klundt / Nov 07, 2013 /
Talia Klundt's picture

As you might remember, last summer I wrote about Muskö as part of my archipelago series, and today I am writing about it again as this summer we happened to spend Midsummer (midsommar) there. Midsummer's eve (Midsommarafton) is celebrated on the third Friday of June between June 19-26. My boyfriend's best friend's parents have a summer house out there, the typical Swedish summer house (red) that you imagine when you think of being in the archipelago or the Swedish countryside, so it feels quite idyllic to spend the biggest Swedish holiday of the year there. Yes, Midsummer in Sweden seems to be a lot bigger than Christmas, although that is right up there; there is lots of planning and many activities to celebrate the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. I think that my boyfriend has spent the last 8 midsummers out in Muskö, so for him it is an annual tradition, but it was my first time spending Midsummer in the archipelago.

 

Stockholm's Archipelago: Midsummer in Muskö

 

Midsummer in Sweden

 

First of all when spending Midsummer in Sweden, it is a must to be out in the countryside or out in the archipelago. Two summers ago, I actually spent it down in Southern Sweden (Malmö) and it was incredibly boring, as everything is closed because everyone is out celebrating far away from the city. So if you ever find yourself in Sweden during Midsummer, I highly recommend finding someone or somewhere to spend it with in the countryside.

 

Before dinner, there are a few preparations that must be done such as putting up the maypole (majstång) and decorating it with greens and flowers before raising it. Women also pick flowers (greens and wildflowers) and make a crown and the tradition is that you are supposed to sleep with it under your pillow and that night you will dream of your future husband. I was too lazy to make one myself but luckily enough my friend's sister made me one and it was absolutely beautiful! I wore it all day and evening!

 

Sweden wildflowers

 

Sweden, wildflowers

 

Summer in Sweden

 

visiting Sweden

 

Maypole, Midsummer in Sweden

midsummer in Sweden

After having prepared the maypole, we all walked down to the "center" of Muskö, where the entire town celebrates by putting up one giant maypole and dancing around to it singing lots of traditional songs, such as små grodorna (small frogs). I did not do any dancing myself. However, I did enjoy watching everyone dancing and singing their hearts away. While everyone danced, I sat and enjoyed a glass of champagne to celebrate the solstice and all the fun we were having with good friends. Once the dancing and singing was all said and done it was time to go back and enjoy Midsummer's dinner!

 

Midsummer dancing, Sweden

 

Midsummer, Muskö, Sweden

 

Champagne at Midsummer, Sweden

 

Midsummer in Sweden

Before driving down to Muskö, my boyfriend and I prepared food to take for dinner. I made two veggie salads and he made dill four different ways. During midsummer, you will find all sorts of dill and herring and other pickled fish and vegetables along with fresh potatoes (the year's first potatoes) and dill, chives, sour cream, rye bread, Swedish hard bread, salads, and of course cake and much more! During dinner, traditional songs are very important and are sung - and after each song, you drink a shot of snaps. Dinner usually lasts for hours, as you are constantly stopping to sing a song and take a shot! Once dinner was over and our bellies were stuffed, we continued celebrating and singing into the wee hours of the night enjoying the land of the midnight sun.

 

Midsummer feast in Sweden

 

Midsummer feast in Sweden

 

 

 

 

Talia Klundt is the Sweden Editor for Wandering Educators

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Talia Klundt