Find your way to celebrate Swedish midsummer
Celebrating the summer solstice is a deeply rooted Scandinavian tradition. But why not broaden the horizon a bit? This easy checklist tells you what you need to know and how to create your own version, anywhere.
1. Traditional setting: Seek nature...
Nature is the average Swede’s home away from home. At least in time for midsummer. People flock to holiday homes or simply move outdoors. Then, surprise, rainy weather crashes the party.
... Or bring pieces of it inside
A more convenient solution – as well as weatherproof – may be to simply stay inside. You’re still free to add all the greenery and nature you like.
2. Traditional guests: family and friends...
Marking the official start of the precious, short summer, it’s common to share the joy with a multigenerational mix of family, friends and a few plus-ones you meet for the first time.
... Or simply the company of your choice
Since there are no precise rules for midsummer guest lists, focus on spending it with the ones you wish to celebrate with – few or many, family or friends, two legs or four.
Traditional festivities are a great source to borrow from, but don’t get too caught up in details. Use tradition as inspiration, and then do your own take.”
Christina Breeze, IKEA interior designer
3. Traditional food: Swedish smorgasbord...
Yes, there will be meatballs! And pickled herring, and cured salmon, and a table laden with a good dozen of other delicacies (see link below for further suggestions). It’s going to be a long evening.
... Or some of your favourite dishes
If you’re not ready to jump in at the deep end – some consider the midsummer smorgasbord an acquired taste – go with what you know and like. What’s festive food to you? Good, make it your menu.
4. Traditional goodnight: flowers under the pillow...
As lore has it, Midsummer’s Eve lets you dream of the one you’re destined to share your life with. All you have to do – no guarantees – is to pick seven different flowers and place them under your pillow.
... Or flowers all over
If you’re in the city, or simply don’t live next door to a meadow in bloom, you can always try with a flower-patterned quilt cover instead. Goodnight, and good luck.