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The iconic Sommarpsalm (Summer Hymn) from 1889 performed by Malena Ernman, Tina Ahlin, Anna Sahlin, and Georg Riedel.

More Malena to the people. Fun fact: Even the pagans tend to like our summer hymns for the way they capture the spirit of the season and the perishable nature of all living things.

As I said earlier, once the maypole festivities are out of the way, people start doing their own thing. That is not to say each person is left to their own devices. It’s more like a weekend mingle. People with no real work to do (it’s all supposed to be done before the solstice, remember?) finally have half a week to potter about and just enjoy life.

In informal gatherings we may sit around a bonfire, or at the very least in nature, and tell stories, sing, eat, drink, and look for signs of the future.

Smörgåsbord food means no one has to cook, so we often graze and barbeque our way through the weekend. For me it’s not Midsummer unless I’ve had gravlax, dillstuvad potatis, strawberries. and cake. Not at the same time, mind you. That would be a waste of perfectly good food.

Gravlax w. dillstuvad potatis is marinated (cured in salt and sugar) salmon with potatoes cooked in a white cream sauce with loads of chopped, fresh dill. (Recipe here.)

At night many like to go skinny dipping and, if they have access to one, sit in the sauna. This is all part of the old cleansing rituals (gotta be clean and smell nice if there’s going to be any sexy activities on the menu, right?), and something men and women do together. It’s a special feeling watching the sun set over the water and – depending on how far up north you live – either dip down below the horizon and come straight back up again, or just hover over the water for a bit before it begins to rise. For a short period of time, Sunna is stronger than Mani.

Some people stay up all night, but if you want to know who you’ll marry you have to go to sleep. There are two really simple ways you can do this. The costly one used to be to eat or drink a lot of salt before you go to sleep. Like put it on a sandwich or dissolve it in a glass of water. The free version was to go into the night, pick seven different flowers and climb over seven different roundpole fences. One flower, one fence, one flower, one fence etc and then run home, put the flowers under the pillow and go to sleep. In both cases, your future husband will come to you in your dream. He’ll bring water to the salt eaters, but seems to arrive empty-handed at the flower girls’ beds. These days salt is cheap and the old roundpole fences are few and far between. Funny how things change.


a blue ship's door with the sign "LINNEA LUCIFER"
author bio

Linnea Lucifer is the Captain of the imaginary, yet very real, pirate ship Resilience and her merry crew of indie authors and omnivorous readers. But that is not all – amateur liar, weaver of stories, peddler of merch, lifelong spoonie, ancient dragon lady and Maddox Rhinehart’s irreverent pet are a few more words often used to describe the bearer of many names.

The Captain was named after a delicate little flower that grows in mossy, Swedish pine forests, and a certain fiery fallen angel. She spends most of her days daydreaming and writing fantasy, smut and painfully crappy poems. A diva of delight, she takes great pleasure in everything that tickles the senses and adds a sprinkle of magic and spice to our world.

Linnea writes fantasy rooted in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore under the pen name Saga Linnea Söderberg. She also writes Sweet’n’Spicy Spoonie romance together with Leto Armitage under their joint pen name Linn Rhinehart.


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