In mid-June, school is out and nature has burst into life. It seems like the sun never sets. In fact, in the north of Scandinavia it doesn’t, and in the south only for an hour or two. Most Scandinavians will gather friends and family to celebrate…
The actual Summer solstices, the longest day of the year is on the 21 st of June, but most people will be celebrating this weekend.
Midsummer’s Eve was originally a pagan festival with the central element of the celebration being a large bonfire. Traditionally, the bonfire was lit around farms to “wake up” the ground. When the light from the fire shone on the fields they were believed to become extra fertile.
The fire was also meant to chase away evil spirits and witches. Medieval superstition said that witches were particularly active on Midsummer’s eve, as they were out harvesting ingredients for their potions or flying off to a witches’ gathering. In some areas a symbolic witch doll is put on the bonfire…
Scandinavian Midsummer is a celebration of nature, life and fertility. Many of the traditions are connected with magic and myths as well. One of the myths is saying that if a girl picked seven different flowers, in seven different yards (jumping the garden fences in-between) on this day and put the bouquet under her pillow at night, she would dream of her husband to be.
Midsummer’s Eve is largely a secular celebration, and an opportunity for everyone to have a night out close to nature. Families gather by the lakes and rivers to have a good time, barbeque or a picnic and to enjoy the Midnight sun. People, dressed in a retro style wearing a flower crown, would dance around Maypoles to celebrate summer.
DIY Flower Crown for Misdummer
Find a field of wild flowers. Choose flowers with long and flexible stems, like daises and clover. You will need 50 to 70 stems to make an crown. Each stem can have more than one flower on it.
Start with the flower with the longest stem. Then ad a second flower and tie it around the first stem to fasten it, as illustrated in the picture. Then the next flower, and the next… until the flower garland is long enough to reach around your head.
To finish your real flower crown off, you must fasten it. Create a circle and place the beginning and end of the flower garland next to each other, allowing a little overlap. With a new flower, you just continue the braiding, as you did with flower number two when you started. Continue for at least another 4-5 flowers or until it seems steady. Attach the end of any loos stems into the flower garland.
Tip: If you find this method difficult, just use a thin tread to fasten.
Wishing you a magical Midsummer celebration!
All images by Little Scandinavian for Stella McCartney Kids