June 24, 2011

Happy Midsummer!

It's Midsummer's Eve in Sweden today. Probably the largest holiday after Christmas, but I have to admit thought it's not big for me. Growing up Midsummer was of course spent very traditionally with singing and dancing around the May Pole with family and friends. The grown ups had pickled herring and fresh potatoes and the kids got hot dogs. I still don't like pickled herring, but I stay away from the hot dogs nowadays. For dessert fresh strawberries and cream.

Then as teenager when you're are suppose to start you're own traditions I was never home during Midsummer. Every single summer from when I was 13 until I was 18 I spent abroad. (Yes, I was one of those spoiled kids who got "sent" away over the summer.) My first Midsummer abroad was celebrated in a park in Hastings and I cried all evening because I was so homesick. That was the first and only time I have ever missed Midsummer. Another Midsummer was spent gazing out over the strait of Gibraltar trying to explain to the Brits what's so special about Midsummer. Already then I said that the most special thing is the light. Three Midsummers were spent in the humid heat of Washington DC. Needless to say dancing around the May Pole was quite an ordeal, and something I only did the first year.

As a grown up I've taken the advantage of the long weekend with going to London and Paris and just escaping it all. Some years I've been home alone doing nothing, which usually is something you don't say out load. On Midsummer's Eve everybody should be together and be happy. Well, the thing is I'm still happy without being together with everybody, i.e. people you're forced to be together with because they are family. Having a tiny family - just mum and stepfather – is sometimes a blessing...

The last couple of years since Mum moved back to town I've agreed on a little bit of celebration. Traditional Midsummer lunch with her and my stepfather. Sometimes a friend of mum's join us as well, but it's never a long thing. The Midsummer tradition is to leave the city so when I walk home the city is more or less deserted and very quite, just like a Sunday morning.

So Happy Midsummer wherever you are or whatever you do. Enjoy the light, food and do just as you please. There is no right or wrong with traditions. It's for you to decide.

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