You’ve probably heard rumours about the big celebration in Sweden during the summer called midsummer. When the swedes drink snaps, sing songs about washing clothes and jump around as frogs. This is, believe it or not, totally true!
One of the biggest midsummer celebrations takes place in Leksand, which is a small town in Dalarna (the place where all the houses are red with white corners and window frames).
The may pole (majstång) gets sat up in the middle of a big valley (called Gropen) and people gather around it, sitting in the slope waiting for it to rise.
The dancing around the pole is the big finale, the things leading up to it is actually important and includes quite a few steps. First there is a big line of people carrying the flower rings and Swedish flags, marching through the crowd of people to the sound of violins, dressed up in costume (folkdräkt). When they arrive to the may pole they attaches the flower rings and then it begins. The pole will rise.
It does so with the help of a group of strong men with sticks, who slowly pushes it to rise. As it is a heavy pole, they need help not only from the violins still playing but from the big crowd of people who yells out “oooohhh” when they take a new grip and “heeeeeey” when they give it a new push.
If this doesn’t help enough there is also the wave (vågen), special for midsummer in Leksand. It starts with some people raising their arms in a wave and then goes around the whole valley.
When the pole finally is up, we sing the Swedish national anthem and then the dancing starts.
To know more about how to celebrate this special day in Sweden watch Swedish midsummer for dummies.
In this clip you get to visit Gropen in Leksand and yell “oooh……heeeeey” together with the crowd!