You may have heard of the summer solstice celebrations more commonly known as midsummer? No? You know the thing when Swedes dance like frogs around a massive phallus to celebrate that there is only half of summer left?
These celebrations marks the ancient middle of Summer, or the astronomical beginning of Summer as well as the nativity of St. John the Baptist. However in later years it has become a lot less focused on the religious aspects and just another reason to get wasted.
Lets get technical
What happens in midsummer is that the planets rotational axis is mot inclined towards the star that it orbits. This means that for us on Earth we get 2 solstices a year, one in winter and one in summer, which is when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or south pole.
The summer solstice day has the longest period of daylight, except in the polar regions, where daytime remains continuous for 24 hours every day during a period ranging from a few days to six months around the summer solstice.
Yes, you literally have no night for about a week or so. Good luck sleeping!
But what about the frogs?
It is tradition. In midsummer we get together to celebrate and enjoy the fact that the cold is not killing us right now. We celebrate it by singing songs and dancing around the “maypole”. The maypole is meant to symbolize a phallus and the fertilization of the earth in some way, I have to be honest and say that I am not a 100% updated on the technicalities.
But what I do know is that we dance like frogs! While singing that frogs are fun to see! It all makes perfect sense, maybe. Maybe we Swedes just lost it some years back and said “To heck with religion, lets focus on the frogs”. I do not mind! But to show you exactly what I am on about, here is a video:
So yeah that is how we celebrate midsummer nowadays! We more or less sing and dance to mock frogs because they don’t have tails or ears. So nice of us. And there is a lot of alcohol going around as well! Like, a lot a lot!
So it is just a celebration?
How dare you!? It is tradition. (Yes it is a celebration). But it is fun, and I can imagine that for someone who was not born here it might be a bit of a strangeH sight to see. But hey who does not want to tell their friends that “I went to Sweden and we danced like frogs around a giant phallus to celebrate summer”!? So by all means, see you next year! Welcome to Sweden!