Celebrate midsummer, Swedish-style!

20 May 2016

On the longest day each year, Helena gathers with loved ones for a traditional Swedish feast outdoors. ‘It’s a bit wild,’ she says. ‘We put a long table and chairs in the field outside our house with a smorgasbord of dishes that everyone can help themselves to. It feels free and joyful.’ From traditional food and customs to personal ideas, she shares her tips for a midsummer party.

Arrange a long table and lots of chairs in the garden Arrange a long table and lots of chairs in the garden Arrange a long table and lots of chairs in the garden Arrange a long table and lots of chairs in the garden Arrange a long table and lots of chairs in the garden Arrange a long table and lots of chairs in the garden Arrange a long table and lots of chairs in the garden Arrange a long table and lots of chairs in the garden Arrange a long table and lots of chairs in the garden Arrange a long table and lots of chairs in the garden Arrange a long table and lots of chairs in the garden Arrange a long table and lots of chairs in the garden
Use a piece of fabric for a tablecloth and fill vases with freshly picked flowers Use a piece of fabric for a tablecloth and fill vases with freshly picked flowers Use a piece of fabric for a tablecloth and fill vases with freshly picked flowers Use a piece of fabric for a tablecloth and fill vases with freshly picked flowers Use a piece of fabric for a tablecloth and fill vases with freshly picked flowers Use a piece of fabric for a tablecloth and fill vases with freshly picked flowers Use a piece of fabric for a tablecloth and fill vases with freshly picked flowers Use a piece of fabric for a tablecloth and fill vases with freshly picked flowers Use a piece of fabric for a tablecloth and fill vases with freshly picked flowers Use a piece of fabric for a tablecloth and fill vases with freshly picked flowers Use a piece of fabric for a tablecloth and fill vases with freshly picked flowers Use a piece of fabric for a tablecloth and fill vases with freshly picked flowers

‘The spirit of the celebration is that everyone takes part – bringing food, music, cosy throws and even pets. Our neighbour’s pony loves to be around the action!’
Helena

Mix floral prints with real flowers to create place settings Mix floral prints with real flowers to create place settings Mix floral prints with real flowers to create place settings Mix floral prints with real flowers to create place settings Mix floral prints with real flowers to create place settings Mix floral prints with real flowers to create place settings Mix floral prints with real flowers to create place settings Mix floral prints with real flowers to create place settings Mix floral prints with real flowers to create place settings Mix floral prints with real flowers to create place settings Mix floral prints with real flowers to create place settings Mix floral prints with real flowers to create place settings

CREATE SUMMERY SETTINGS

Mix floral prints with real blooms to give each place setting the flavour of the season. ‘Combining vintage, modern and natural feels personal and informal.’

Weave wildflowers together to create traditional midsummer crowns for your guests Weave wildflowers together to create traditional midsummer crowns for your guests Weave wildflowers together to create traditional midsummer crowns for your guests Weave wildflowers together to create traditional midsummer crowns for your guests Weave wildflowers together to create traditional midsummer crowns for your guests Weave wildflowers together to create traditional midsummer crowns for your guests Weave wildflowers together to create traditional midsummer crowns for your guests Weave wildflowers together to create traditional midsummer crowns for your guests Weave wildflowers together to create traditional midsummer crowns for your guests Weave wildflowers together to create traditional midsummer crowns for your guests Weave wildflowers together to create traditional midsummer crowns for your guests Weave wildflowers together to create traditional midsummer crowns for your guests

CROWN YOUR GUESTS WITH FLOWERS

Get traditional with crowns of wildflowers for luck and good health. ‘Each type of flower is supposed to have a symbolic meaning, but really you can use any you like.’
 

Fill jars with cutlery so everyone can serve themselves Fill jars with cutlery so everyone can serve themselves Fill jars with cutlery so everyone can serve themselves Fill jars with cutlery so everyone can serve themselves Fill jars with cutlery so everyone can serve themselves Fill jars with cutlery so everyone can serve themselves Fill jars with cutlery so everyone can serve themselves Fill jars with cutlery so everyone can serve themselves Fill jars with cutlery so everyone can serve themselves Fill jars with cutlery so everyone can serve themselves Fill jars with cutlery so everyone can serve themselves Fill jars with cutlery so everyone can serve themselves

LET EVERYONE HELP THEMSELVES

Jars filled with cutlery and utensils on the table mean fewer trips to the kitchen. ‘If extra guests arrive or a dish needs serving up, it’s easy to get stuck in.’

Ask everyone to bring something to the party Ask everyone to bring something to the party Ask everyone to bring something to the party Ask everyone to bring something to the party Ask everyone to bring something to the party Ask everyone to bring something to the party Ask everyone to bring something to the party Ask everyone to bring something to the party Ask everyone to bring something to the party Ask everyone to bring something to the party Ask everyone to bring something to the party Ask everyone to bring something to the party

‘The spirit of the celebration is that everyone takes part – bringing food, music, cosy throws and even pets. Our neighbour’s pony loves to be around the action!’
Helena

Entertain your guests with live music Entertain your guests with live music Entertain your guests with live music Entertain your guests with live music Entertain your guests with live music Entertain your guests with live music Entertain your guests with live music Entertain your guests with live music Entertain your guests with live music Entertain your guests with live music Entertain your guests with live music Entertain your guests with live music

Make merry with music

‘Traditionally during Swedish midsummer, people sing and dance around a maypole, but we like to sing around the table with whatever instruments we have to hand,’ says Helena. ‘It’s very spontaneous – often some people sing while others are eating.’

Serve traditional Swedish shrimp Serve traditional Swedish shrimp Serve traditional Swedish shrimp Serve traditional Swedish shrimp Serve traditional Swedish shrimp Serve traditional Swedish shrimp Serve traditional Swedish shrimp Serve traditional Swedish shrimp Serve traditional Swedish shrimp Serve traditional Swedish shrimp Serve traditional Swedish shrimp Serve traditional Swedish shrimp

TASTY SHRIMP

For an authentic midsummer feast, seafood is a big part of the menu. ‘We eat the same dishes we’ve served for hundreds of years. It’s nice to feel part of a tradition.’

Keep dishes simple Keep dishes simple Keep dishes simple Keep dishes simple Keep dishes simple Keep dishes simple Keep dishes simple Keep dishes simple Keep dishes simple Keep dishes simple Keep dishes simple Keep dishes simple

SUPER SALMON

Salmon is also a favourite among the buffet of dishes. ‘I believe in the joy of simple tastes – smoked salmon served with boiled homegrown potatoes.’

Choose to make your own food or buy pre-prepared dishes Choose to make your own food or buy pre-prepared dishes Choose to make your own food or buy pre-prepared dishes Choose to make your own food or buy pre-prepared dishes Choose to make your own food or buy pre-prepared dishes Choose to make your own food or buy pre-prepared dishes Choose to make your own food or buy pre-prepared dishes Choose to make your own food or buy pre-prepared dishes Choose to make your own food or buy pre-prepared dishes Choose to make your own food or buy pre-prepared dishes Choose to make your own food or buy pre-prepared dishes Choose to make your own food or buy pre-prepared dishes

PICKLED HERRING

For a true taste of Swedish summer, try traditional pickled herring. ‘As with all the dishes, you can either make them or buy them pre-prepared.’

Enjoy the abundance of summer with all your friends and neighbours Enjoy the abundance of summer with all your friends and neighbours Enjoy the abundance of summer with all your friends and neighbours Enjoy the abundance of summer with all your friends and neighbours Enjoy the abundance of summer with all your friends and neighbours Enjoy the abundance of summer with all your friends and neighbours Enjoy the abundance of summer with all your friends and neighbours Enjoy the abundance of summer with all your friends and neighbours Enjoy the abundance of summer with all your friends and neighbours Enjoy the abundance of summer with all your friends and neighbours Enjoy the abundance of summer with all your friends and neighbours Enjoy the abundance of summer with all your friends and neighbours

Invite a crowd!

‘Midsummer is for enjoying time with each other as well as the time of year,’ says Helena. ‘Our neighbours have known me since I was 10 years old and are always welcome at our table. Summer is a season of abundance, so it feels good to see lots of people tuck in.’

 

Wear your smartest outfit or your favourite summer dress Wear your smartest outfit or your favourite summer dress Wear your smartest outfit or your favourite summer dress Wear your smartest outfit or your favourite summer dress Wear your smartest outfit or your favourite summer dress Wear your smartest outfit or your favourite summer dress Wear your smartest outfit or your favourite summer dress Wear your smartest outfit or your favourite summer dress Wear your smartest outfit or your favourite summer dress Wear your smartest outfit or your favourite summer dress Wear your smartest outfit or your favourite summer dress Wear your smartest outfit or your favourite summer dress

‘We usually wear our most summery outfits, but my dad Bengt likes to dress up super-smart. It’s fun to see everyone express themselves in their own way’
Helena

Party time! Watch how Helena and her friends like to eat and make merry at midsummer

Portrait of Helena Portrait of Helena Portrait of Helena Portrait of Helena Portrait of Helena Portrait of Helena Portrait of Helena Portrait of Helena Portrait of Helena Portrait of Helena Portrait of Helena Portrait of Helena

‘After the long, dark days of a Scandinavian winter, midsummer is a celebration of light. We have fun through to the early hours because the sun barely sets’
Helena
 

MADE BY

Photography: Dan Duchars  
Styling: Carl Braganza
Follow Helena at hoshelenah.com