Midsommar and completely sanctioned skinny-dipping.
If you’re a Swede, chances are you’re not reading this. Up and down the length of Sweden, people are getting their party on and celebrating Midsommar; the longest and most anticipated day of the year. Midsommar celebrations have their roots in pagan traditions dating back centuries, when people felt the need to ward off evil spirits and simultaneously celebrate fertility (hence the rather phallic-looking Maypole. Ahem.)
The day typically starts with a lunch of herring and new potatoes with dill and sour cream, accompanied by a round of snaps (a strong spirit like vodka or akvavit). The strong alcohol comes in especially handy if your host brings out "surströmming", which is a fermented fish dish that has the unenviable accolade of being one of the most "putrid smelling dishes in the world". Only for the hardcore.
After lunch, armed with their homemade natty flower garlands, people usually spend the afternoon singing, dancing round the Maypole and playing lawn games like kubb. Afterwards, the barbeque gets fired up and everyone gathers for another al fresco meal in the evening sunshine. Think lots of meat, fish and cold beers, as well as more snaps. Dessert is typically cream cake with freshly-picked strawberries.
The sun doesn't set until long into the night so post dinner, you've got plenty of options. You might want to join one of the countless outdoor parties, retire beside the lake with one final snaps or indeed jump naked in said lake for a midnight swim. Up to you!
Fancy hosting your own tribute to Midsommar? Check out some of the pics on our Pinterest page for ideas for table settings, recipes and how to make that all important flower garland.