Midsummer is celebrated this year on June 19th. For Scandinavians, mainly Swedes, it is the second most important day after Christmas. In Spain we celebrate the night of San Juan on the 23rd of June, which marks the beginning of the summer season.
Each country has its own traditions, but something that is common are fires and dances around them, whose beginnings date back to centuries ago. In Sweden it is a holiday for the whole family, ideal for leaving big cities towards nature, where you can make wreaths with flowers (krans) and share traditional meals with beer and Snaps (which you can not miss) followed by songs time.
When it comes time to raise the Maypole, a decorated pine with a very peculiar way, which represents fertility; you have reached the time of physical activities followed by dances and music. All this is will be accompanied by a strawberry cake. Midsummer night is a romantic evening … legend says that if you put seven flowers under the pillow, you will dream with the love of your life, if not, you probably have chosen the wrong flowers.
In Spain, the traditions vary by region but we can say that San Juan festivities revolve around two elements, water and fire. Fire is represented by the bonfires, where they gather to dance, play guitar, drink and celebrate. Alongside this, wishes lists are made and then you throw them into the fire and jump over it. The tradition related to water is bathing in the sea at midnight and make wishes while jumping the waves.
In many areas of Spain, we prepare bonfires, parades make the rhythm of music, people eat traditional Coca, a cake with cream, flour and marzipan. Young people gather at night to go to the beaches and to continue the celebration. Overnights between the fires, watch a fireworks and why not wait until midnight to dive into the waters of the Mediterranean in search of good fortune.
No matter if you are in a Scandinavian country or region in Spain, the important thing is to have fun with the traditions and customs of the area.
For more Sweden Midsommar information visit Sweden or see this video!