A few weeks ago, I wrote about celebrating Midsummer in Stockholm and going to Skansen Museum for the day to see a traditional Midsummer.
While my parents were here visiting, we did go to Skansen on June 19 to watch the raising of the May pole. The weather was less than ideal – pouring rain from about 10 am – 5:00 pm but I have been told that without some rain, it wouldn’t have been a true Swedish Midsummer! Before the event we picked up some flower crowns for my Mom and myself – the boys chose to skip them this year! Something I would recommend for next time would be to go early to Skansen and learn to make traditional ones there before the event. The “pre-made” flower crowns at the flourish shops can be expensive.
Skansen was packed with tourists and Swedes alike and it was a great chance to check out the marketplace where authentic Swedish crafts and goods are sold. There are both indoor and outdoor picnic areas where you can enjoy a home packed picnic, as well as some restaurants where you can enjoy some traditional Swedish foods.
We got there about 45 minutes before the ceremony was scheduled to begin, but I would recommend going even earlier to get a spot in the front of the circle. If you plan to go next year, I suggest packing for all weather possibilities – rain, wind and sun! Since there was a lot of rain, the grass was quite slippery, so the May pole ceremony took longer than anticipated. Swedish men, women and children are involved in the ceremony and they are all dressed uniquely based on their ‘home’ regions in Sweden. Before the May pole is raised, everyone participating in the ceremony decorated the pole with flowers, and ribbons before the men begin to process of hoisting it up using old fashioned logs of some sort to push the pole upright.
Once the May pole is in position, the singing and dancing can begin! The rope barrier separating the onlookers from the raising area is removed, and everyone is invited to come and create a chain to dance around the pole. Then, some more traditional songs and dances are played and the children come to dance to “the Little frogs song” Små Grodorna.
Many people stayed to sing and dance, but due to the weather, we decided to head into the indoor picnic area to wait out the rain. We enjoyed a picnic of rose, ham, brie, smoked salmon and skagenröra. After the rain lightened up, we went back out to explore Skansen and viewed some of the traditional houses, Scandinavian animals and enjoy the outdoor scenery.
For some general information, the adult tickets are priced at 200 SEK (if purchased online in advance). I would highly recommend purchasing them ahead of time, since the lines were quite long to buy them on the day of.
So, next year if you find yourself in Stockholm for Midsummer, Skansen is just the place to go to spend a day outside and enjoying some Swedish traditions!