Midsummer in Sweden

Dancers around a maypole during a Midsummer festival near Råshult. 

Midsummer is one of the biggest holidays in Sweden, if not the biggest.  It is a time to celebrate the beginning of summer, the season of fertility, and the longest day of the year where the sun does not set in the north. 

With Midsummer approaching, my thoughts turn to Sweden.  I usually get a strong feeling to visit Sweden this time of year, and in 2005, my mother and I did go to see family and enjoy the Swedish countryside at this beautiful time of year.  We flew into Stockholm and then drove out to Mora in the Dalarna area where we rented a cabin on Lake Siljan. 

The forest near Lake Siljan

The area is absolutely gorgeous, the people friendly and we had a wonderful time.  Being midsummer, the sun just barely dipped below the tree line at night and one night at 2 am I had my mother take a photograph of myself with a sign reading “2 am”, to show the perpetual twilight. 

A birch tree with lilacs, near Mora.

During our stay in the cabin in Mora we took a few day trips.  Two of our day trips were to visit the Anders Zorn museum in Mora, and the home of Carl Larsson in Sundborn, Sweden.

Anders Zorn’s “Love Nymph”, 1885

The Flower Window, Carl Larsson

The best parlour in Carl Larsson’s home.

My mother sitting outside Carl Larsson’s home.

A fence covered in lilacs in Mora.

Near Mora we also visited a few shops where they make the traditional Dalarna horse (Dalecarlian horse  or Dalahäst), a horse figure carved from wood, then painted.

My mom and a giant chicken.

Haymaking the old way in the countryside near Mora.

After our stay in the cabin, we drove south to Älmhult, in Småland, to be with family for the actual midsummer celebration.  This is the part of Sweden where my ancestors lived, and we began the holiday weekend in Melbystrand at my cousin’s home on the coast.  My cousin and his wife Berit made the traditional meal items, including boiled new potatoes with dill, and cake with strawberries.  We watched the dancers around the maypole and drank shots of schnapps.  I learned some Swedish drinking songs.  It was great.

For more on the Swedish midsumer festivities:


Picking 7 different types of wildflowers, as instructed by my cousin’s wife Berit.

The local people in Melbystrand dancing around the maypole with flowers in their hair.

The beach at Melbystrand.


Midsummer table decorations.

Berit making the cake with fresh strawberries, a tradition.

Me, my cousin Christer, and Berit.


The festivites were fun and colorful and lasted all night.  

We continued our holiday celebrations by visiting the birthplace of Carl Linnaeus in Råshult.    (http://www.linnesrashult.se/?lg=2)

The birthplace of Carl Linnaeus.

On the grounds of Carl Linnaeus’ birthplace.

Near Råshult we saw more dancing around the maypole with many in traditional costumes.  The music was lively and everyone was in high spirits.

The Midsummer festivities near Råshult. 

Carrying in the maypole.

A postcard of one of the traditional folk costumes of Småland.

During our stay in Stockholm, we toured the Skansen outdoor folk museum and the Vasa museum. 

A postcard from the Vasa Museum in Stockholm.



Other photos from Sweden:

A rune stone in Uppsala.

A ship on the waterfront in Stockholm.


I fell in love with this painting in the Stockholm Cathedral in Gamla Stan, Stockholm. Vadersolstavlan, by JH Elbfas,  1636.

More on this painting:

Vädersolstavlan (“the Sun Dog Painting”) is a painting depicting a halo phenomenon observed over Stockholm in 1535. The original painting, commissioned by Olaus Petri shortly after the event and traditionally attributed to Urban målare, is lost, but a copy from 1636, attributed to Jacob Elbfas, is still hanging in the Stockholm cathedral. The painting was restored in 1998-1999.

This entry was posted in Seasons & Holidays, Sweden. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Midsummer in Sweden

  1. I do love this time of year in Sweden, but I do dread the weather on THAT day!

    ~THe Dippylomat esq.

  2. Alice Nielsen says:

    I love these pictures SO MUCH makes me want to be there again, the most
    beautiful place to me!

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