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Midsummer festival in Stockholm
most celebrated festival
Midsummer festival in Stockholm is Scandinavia's most celebrated festivals right after Christmas. 21st of June is the longest day of the year, in Sweden the event is celebrated as a national holiday, it's a traditional celebration of the Summer solstice.
The Summer solstice dates back in pre-Christian times and it's a very ancient practice. Originally it was a fertility festival with many customs and rituals associated with the hope for a good harvest the coming autumn.
Originally in Sweden the houses at “Midsommar” time are decorated with wreaths and flower garland indoors and outdoors. They are dancing around the decorated midsummer pole while listening to traditional folk songs known to all, the celebration includes also bonfires. Also in Denmark and Norway the Midsummer Eve is celebrated with a large bonfires and processions, but it's called “Jonsok”.
For Danes it's not only a Summer Fest, it's called also St. John's Eve, they celebrate it on 23th of June, the tradition is to sing their “ We Love Our Land” burning the straw witches on bonfires, in memory of the Church's witch-burnings from the 16th and 17th century. The Scandinavian Midsummer traditions comes from the pagan times, showing the defeat of darkness to the powers of the sun god.
The celebration comes with a good food of course, the traditional potatoes with herring or smoked fish, fresh fruit and some schnapps and beer for the adults!In some areas, therefore, people dressed up as ‘green men’, clad in ferns.
Primarily midsummer was an occasion for young people, but it was also celebrated in the industrial communities of central Sweden, where all mill employees were given a feast of pickled herring, beer and schnapps. It was not until the 20th century, however, that this became the most Swedish of all traditional festivities.
It's the lightest night of the year, also considered as a very magical night and the best time to tell people their futures. Girls use to ate Dream Porridge, a very salted porridge, so that their future husbands might bring water to them in their dreams, to quench their thirst.
Have to admit that many Swedes take advantage of the celebration to fulfill their social obligations, so they can get some rest and enjoy their holidays in peace. As they like the well ordered world, the big Eve is always a Friday, which they usually start by picking the flowers and making wreaths which is a key component in the celebrations.