Today is the Swedish Midsummer! The days are long, nights are short, and all you want to do is have a big garden party. To make sure I don’t miss out on the fun while I’m still in America, I usually turn our 4th of July celebration into an American-Midsummer hybrid.
The two holidays have a lot in common: the timing, the BBQ, the drinking, and the backyard. I simply add Swedish-style wildflowers for decoration and to make wreaths, the obligatory strawberry shortcake, and some silly games like “potato race,” “sack race,” and “dizzy sticks” to get my Midsummer fix.
The old myth says that at sundown on Midsummer, every girl needs to pick seven kinds of wildflowers and put them under her pillow to dream of her true love. In Sweden you’re allowed to pick flowers wherever you choose (this right is protected by a law called the “All Man’s Right” and comes with some obligations.) Here, I need to make sure I can find my seven flowers close to home, since being caught by the park ranger doesn’t really fit with Midsummer or Independence Day.
So while everybody else is celebrating America’s birthday, I’m secretly indulging in a Nordic pagan ritual. Nobody else needs to know…
Photography by Charlotte Coffey