Midsummer is a celebration of the changing of the seasons that takes place on the Friday of the week of the summer solstice and is one of the most important celebrations in Sweden. To gain more insight into what goes into the day, we asked lead makeup artist and head of education in the US, Helen Andersson to describe Midsummer in her words, as she knows it:
Midsummer is one of the most important days of the year in Sweden and just happens to be my very favorite celebration. It is often an all night thing since it’s the lightest night of the year and the sun will set only for an hour or two.
It is a time of magic when it is/was believed that one can harness natures special powers on this night. For example, when unmarried girls (or boys) would walk home in the early hours of the morning they would pick 7 kinds of flowers to put under their pillow and it was said they would dream of their future husband (or wife). I love this tradition and have done it many times. Not sure I dreamt about a husband though.
Also we make flower wreaths for our hair, I still do this every year! There is an old photo in W magazine of me and Martina wearing them, maybe I will try to find it? It’s very cute.
We then raise the midsummer pole, which is clad in greenery and flowers, and we dance around it. Then we sit down to a feast of different pickled herrings and boiled new potatoes, sour cream and chives, schnapps and cold beer. And we sing many drinking songs.
Last but not least, we eat the first harvest of strawberries. For me this long day is a celebration of nature, fertility and magic. And the light is so spectacular. No wonder you want to stay up all night…writing this made me very homesick!
We are all reminded during this time to celebrate the light. Though darkness may be looming around the corner, we must remember the joy, the love, and the magic we each carry with us and with those we include in our lives. May everyone have a summer filled with exuberant celebration, magic, and love.