Lighting fires and seeking soulmates
The month of June marks the end of spring and the beginning of summer. From starting up bonfires and performing rituals, to dreaming about their future mate, people in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark celebrate Midsummer’s Day in interesting ways. Read to find out about the crazy traditions of Midsummer’s Day across Scandinavia.
In Sweden, Midsummer is one of the most important holidays of the year; it is celebrated on the Friday that takes place between June 19 and June 26. Friends and family dance and sing around a maypole, which is a pole that they decorate entirely with plants and flowers. During the celebration, the Swedish people wear traditional costumes and crowns made out of wildflowers. Since Midsummer is believed to be the time when magic is at its strongest, people perform rituals to see what will come in the future.
Sweden is not the only place where rituals are performed. During Midsummer, cities in Finland almost completely shut down with businesses closing at noon and most people leaving for the countryside. During the day, parties typically include bonfires by the beach or by the lake side, cookouts, saunas, festivals and heavy drinking! At night, Finns hold small rituals. One of them involves women placing 7 different types of flowers under their pillow before going to bed so they can see their future husband in their dreams.
It’s also common for women in Norway to dream of their special someone. Unmarried women have the same practice of putting flowers under their pillow and in western Norway, adults and children have mock weddings. That’s because they see weddings as a representation of new life blooming.
Finally, Denmark starts its celebrations the evening before Midsummer’s Day. It’s a tradition that dates back to the time of the Vikings. Bonfires on the beach and picnics are part of what you can expect, but you’ll also hear plenty of speeches and traditional songs.
Discover the different traditions of Midsummer’s Day in Scandinavia by traveling between Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark with a Eurail Scandinavia Pass.