MIDSOMMAR AT SKANSEN

After Christmas, Midsommar is the second largest festival of the year in Sweden and most Swedes celebrate it with relatives, friends and neighbours. According to the 1953 law, Midsommar is always celebrated on a Saturday between 20 and 26 June. The Friday before is called midsommarafton and the Saturday midsommardag. On Midsummer Eve a tree trunk decorated with green leaves is erected, which is called midsummer pole (midsommarstång) or may pole (majstång). Maj here has nothing to do with the month of May, but goes back to the ancient verb maja ("adorn with flowers"). The bar looks a little different in the different regions of the country, also individual places often have their own tradition. The trunk is decorated with leaves and flowers and erected, then danced in a circle around it, whereby different play dances are usual. One of these dance songs is Små grodorna: it is about frogs and you imitate their movements while dancing. The girls and women usually wear white or flowery dresses; many also wear their traditional costumes for this special occasion. Some tie wreaths of flowers or birch twigs and put them on themselves or their children. In Sweden, the biggest Midsommar event is in Stockholm at Skansen, the world´s oldest open air museum.

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Watch the dance around the majstång.

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