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  • Photographer: Jesper Anhede

Celebrate Midsummer with the Swedes

There are few things that Swedes associate more with summer than the celebration of midsummer. Families and friends gather to enjoy dancing and singing, combined with delicious food and flavoured schnapps.

Midsummer is always on a Friday and is so important to Swedish culture that it's a public holiday. Midsummer Night is one of the lightest of the year and is a truly magical evening. A lot of traditions surround midsummer. For example, girls and young women are supposed to pick seven different species of flowers and lay them under their pillows for their future husbands to appear in a dream.

On Midsummer, the maypole is raised in villages and cities across Sweden, with children and adults dancing around it. Typical midsummer food includes different kinds of pickled herring, boiled new potatoes with fresh dill, soured cream and raw red onion. This is often followed by a grilled dish, such as spare rib or salmon, with the first strawberries of summer and cream for dessert. The traditional drink is cold beer and schnapps, preferably spiced. Swedes also like to sing songs when drinking schnapps.

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