Midsummer is one of the most important holidays in Sweden. Frogs, greens and flowers are important elements.
People go to places where midsummer festivities are arranged. Once there, the first thing people seem to check out for is the center of the activity – and you see that through a tall pole with two loops on each side. That’s the midsummer pole. People who come early and arrive before the pole is raised help collect greens and flowers to dress the pole. When the pole is raised, games, dancing and traditional songs begin.
A really cute song is “Små grodorna”, which is about small frogs. People gather in a big ring dance and sing and hop around like frogs: “Kou-ack-ack-ack, kou-ack-ack-ack, kou-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack. Kou-ack-ack-ack, kou-ack-ack-ack, kou-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack.”
I was pretty disturbed when I first heard this song years back. And the hopping was just as perplexing. But then I thought these people watch Donald Duck as part of their Christmas celebrations, so they just probably love nature so much and give tribute to frogs in their most uniquely swedish holiday.
Don’t underestimate this holiday – it’s a tourist magnet. Tourists even travel as far as Dalarna, where Midsummer is a fabulously huge event. Unfortunately, I heard that some tourists get lost, or misunderstand how to go to midsummer festivities. A group of chinese tourists once ended up in Fyrishov, a sports arena, where people were just swimming around (a story I’ve heard from a colleague).
Midsummer is important to both Scandinavia and the Baltics.
My friend from Latvia commented: “Our midsummer festivity is better. The Swedish version is quite stiff.”
“How do you do it in your country?” I asked.
“We have a bonfire.”
“Well isn’t that just like Walpurgis Night (Valborg)?”
“Yes, but we jump over the fire,” she said.
I guess Swedes won’t let their cute kouackaking frogs leap over bonfire.