A Guide to the Perfect Swedish Midsummer Celebration
The longest day of the year is quickly approaching and you know what that means? Another Swedish Midsummer that you’ll never forget. Every year, Swedes keep their fingers crossed that the weather will be pleasant during Midsummer’s eve. It is easily one of the most important holidays that comes with an unlimited guilt-free pass to indulge in copious amounts of new potatoes, diversely marinated pickled herring and beloved Swedish strawberries. What would a Swedish Midsummer be without all these classic components. No pickled herring? No party! Before you go ahead and make lavish preparations to take advantage of the longest day of the year, take a look at these tips we’ve collected below for the perfect Swedish Midsummer celebration.
1. Choose the perfect location close to nature
Location, location, location! It’s all about location. Midsummer’s eve is meant to be celebrated out on the countryside and the early swedish summer is the best time of the year to be there. You don’t own a summer house? Make sure to find a friend that does or locate a nice hotel by the sea (in Sweden you’re never too far from nature), just make sure there is a large outdoor area and nice grassy patch for all the festivities.
2. Feed your guests new potatoes, picked herring and strawberries
As mentioned, new potatoes and pickled herring is the starting point. Setting the table with sour cream and chives to go with it is also very important. But making sure that there is crisp bread, “gubbröra” and real butter will really finish the table. For dessert, serve Swedish strawberries of course! With creamy milk and/or ice cream to go with them.
3. Be sure to supply lots of alcohol
Usually beer at a Swedish celebration is accepted. But at a fest like Midsummers? Without schnapps the herring is sad. Between the different variations of schnapps – Akvavit, Skåne or OP Andersson, supply your guests with your favourite one and make sure to have shot glasses on the table!
4. Put up a Maypole
Although the origins of the maypole are unknown, the maypole has found its way into this Swedish celebration as a token centerpiece of the party. It doesn’t really matter how it looks, as long as you’ve got one! Note, this is a critical piece for the dancing part below. For instructions on how to build your own maypole (if you want more than just a wooden branch with flowers), click here.
5. Freshen up your dance moves
Yes, there is a Maypole dance! Although the origins of this dance are historically related to fertility, new current day dances around the maypole include: “The little frogs”, “ Up on Källarbacken”, “Jänta o ja” etc. There’s nothing that brings family and friends together than dancing like frogs in unison.
6. Organize games that groups can partake in
Classic Swedish games are great for whole family fun. Jumping sack, potato relay races and horseshoe throwing are just some of the classics everyone loves. If you are having a large party, just make sure you have a megahorn on hand, to communicate the rules over the sounds of laughter.
7. Have all kinds of mosquito protection
Make sure you are sufficiently prepared. From table scents, canopy nets to bug spray, nothing brings down a party faster than an attack of the mosquitos. Although the itchiness might make for twitchy dance moves, your guests might not appreciate the unpleasant, scratchy bites.
8. Remind your guests to bring their raincoats
Or have some ponchos on hand. You can never feel safe that the weather gods will bless you with sunshine. Heavy rain and vanished party tents are usual side effects. On the other hand, don’t forget your swimsuit either.