Midsummer what?

Given Swedens long, dark winters, it’s not surprising that the arrival of summer is a big deal. In Sweden, Midsummer’s Eve is one of the most important days of the year, rivaling Christmas with its festive spirit and traditions.  The tradition of Midsummer, dates way back as a celebration for the summer solstice. Still today Swedes are having huge parties and dance around the Maypole.

The Maypole however is a newer tradition from Germany. With newer, we refer to late Middle Ages. In Germany it was a May tradition but the Swedes moved it since it was hard to find flowers in May. 

So if you want to pass as a Swede at a Midsummer party you need to know a few things:

-Talk about the weather, all Swedes have an opinion about it. 

-Eat before the party, unless you are a big fan of Sill (pickled herring)

-Watch out for Snaps, (flavored spirits way stronger than your average)

-Singing is mandatory. When the Snaps hit the crowd, the urge to sing follows. Snapsvisor is short drinking songs that are sung before, after and during shooting Snaps. 

-Flowers are twinned into crowns, worn by everyone, young & old. You should also pick 7 different flowers and place them under your pillow. This will make you dream about the future love of your life.

-Dancing around the Maypole. No it's not only for kids! Swedes love to dance around stuff. If not the Maypole it's the Christmas tree. The songs are usually old folk & kids chants. Many of the songs comes with special bodymovements. The most famous one is "Små Grodorna" (The little Frogs".  The dance reflects the lyric and you will place your hands on your ears and on your bum, all according to the lyrics. 

So what is the song "Små Grodorna"? 

It is believed to originate from a military chant, sung by French soldiers during the French Revolution. It was later picked up by the Brits who made aalternative French mocking lyric. How it ended up in Sweden and stayed there is a mystery. The lyrics in Swedish is inspired by the British version. 

The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to observe.
The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to observe.
No ears, no ears, no tails do they possess.
No ears, no ears, no tails do they possess.
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa.
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa.

A couple of years ago we asked one of our favorite bands to cover the song for us. Pale Honey is Gothenburgs finest rock band and we think they made a great job playing the song. No matter if you think the song is good or bad, Pale Honey are great. They just released a new song, found here. Remember to support your local rock band. 

Have a Great Midsummer and stay safe.