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  • Writer's pictureHannah Telluselle

Time for a Midsummer night's dream

Today marks June 21st, which means it's the longest day of the year with the most amount of daylight hours in Sweden. It was also this date that I got baptized in 2007. And of course, it's also Midsummer's Eve - one of Sweden's most important traditional holidays. In fact, we celebrate Midsummer much more than we do our Independence day. For this special occasion, we eat food of the season, such as fresh potatoes and strawberries, besides pickled herring or salmon, with sowercream sauce and chives, and with a shot of seasoned vodka. We dance in a circle around a Maypole to various folksongs, a pole usually dressed in birch leaves with two hanging wraths dressed in flowers. This is said to be an old phallic symbol. Women also wear wraths like this:

And before going to sleep, maiden girls, go out in silence and pick 7 different wild flowers and put underneath our pillow. This is said to allow us to dream about, who we're going to get married to. (This was before I was baptized. Nowadays, I let God support me in my choices.) Midsummer, is also known to be an auspicious day to get pregnant. So, to find romance, we also gather at someone's house or summer residence, or go out to party. I have two really nice memories, I thought I'd share.

First of all, I do have dreamt once about someone to get married to. It was a really tall, blonde, man, that I however didn't see the face of. I was about 12 years old then. In my dream, he was so tall, I had to stand on a pair of phone directory catalogues, to be able to reach up and kiss him.

When I was about 17 years old, I was going to an outdoor festival party with a girlfriend. We took the train, and thought we'd just wait until the first one in the morning, to get us back. At 3 am, we were both tired and tipsy and Cia, my friend, recognised a guy from school and asked him if we could get a ride back to our town with im instead of waiting for the morning train. It turned out that he, and a group of his guy friends, had borrowed his parents' cabin deep in the woods, in the countryside, and had already arranged for a cab to drive them there. We were welcome to join, so we did. And shared bed with strangers. Although, all drunk and soon asleep. In the morning, nobody was fit to drive, and the neighbouring guy, had been in a severe car accident, that forced him to wear screws into his hips and couldn't sit for long. This was in the era before cell phones and internet, in the middle of nowhere. Eventually, we both called home to our parents to share where we were, except that Cia was too afraid to say where we actually were, so she said we were at another classmate's house. Her stepmother got suspicious, and called our classmate's house, only to find out we weren't there, but apparently Jonna lied and kept our secret until we got back. My parents, although divorced, were a little more cool about the thing, so my Dad's new wife got her car and came to pick us up. On Monday, our story was soon shared through the grape-wine at school.

Another, a little more grown-up memory at the age of 24, was when I studied to become a copywriter in Stockholm, Sweden and was invited by a new acquaintance Ylva, who I did my first freelance assignment with, to go with her and her boyfriend, to a small island, where we celebrated Midsummer, the way it can be very romantic and is typical for Sweden and especially Stockholm. We watched the sunset go down into the water, ate good food, and sat and talked the whole night, whereupon a few brave went out fishing early morning with a rowing boat. A memory, I'll always cherish. Then of course, I've also spent this holiday abroad, on at least 7 occasions.

Midsummer, is the time that really marks the beginning of summer in Sweden, and is a time of magic.

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