MIDSUMMER

Midsummer


… IS A BIG HOLIDAY IN SWEDEN USUALLY ASSOCIATED WITH PICKING FLOWERS, DECORATING A MAYPOLE AND WITH HEDONISTIC TRACES DANCE AROUND IT ON THE YEAR’S LONGEST DAY.


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However some say that there is no proof of such pre-Christian rites but the word maypole is derived from maja which means to decorate with leaves and has little to do with the month of May.


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Instead it was a celebration of St John the Baptist and his day on the 24th of June. Luckily the religious connotations has all but disappeared and instead it is a day of herring, new-potatoes, snapps and strawberries an approach which suits the Viking in me much better. Another tradition was that virgins were supposed to put seven kinds of flowers under their pillow to dream about the man who were to enter their life in the future. Looking at statistics, love was certainly in the air in June, at least until 1990, before which there was a traditional peak in births in the following March. Well, that was long before computer games, Netflix, IVF and metoo.

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Now perhaps we should dream about having a livable planet instead as the birds and the bees are threatened by climate change and even on this holiday in Sweden a small group of dedicated activists sat in the shade outside city hall for the weekly Friday climate protest. However it was symbolic as no one was working there on the day.


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Folkets Park is another Swedish institution found in most cities of any size around Sweden. Traditionally it has been a meeting place for the working class, the one in Malmö (the oldest in Sweden) was founded in 1891 and hold and outdoor stage and dance floor, the entertainment venue Moriskan (1902) and dance palace Amiralen.  In this year of the FIFA Ladies World Championship girls in hijab plays football in the shadow of the onion cupolas and the moon of Moriskan. This is modern multi-culti-Malmö.


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