Midsummer is a tradition that takes place every year on a Friday between the 19th and the 25th of June. Festivities usually start at noon with a midsummer lunch consisting of pickled herring, fresh potato, chives and sour cream, accompanied by singing and often lots of schnapps. For dessert? Strawberries, of course.
Swedes consider midsummer as one of the biggest occasions of the year. It’s a sort of summer kick-off when many people start their vacation. A typical midsummer day is spent in the countryside in picturesque surroundings.
Part of the celebration revolves around raising of a large maypole decorated with flowers. The maypole is said to be an ancient, phallic fertility symbol of pre-Christian origin. Once raised, it becomes the centre of the party and people dance around it. Summer is the theme of this festivity and hand-made flower garlands in your hair is a must.
Midsummer events all over Skåne
Many Swedes escape the city to spend this holiday at their summer residences. And many choose to go to larger, communal festivities arranged all over Skåne. These events are opportunities to participate in the most typically Swedish occasion of the year.
There are hundreds of small, local events with maypoles and dancing arranged all over Skåne, and larger celebrations in the castles and historic sites.
Some of the best places to celebrate midsummer in Skåne
Kulturen in Lund is an attractive open-air museum that features an extensive collection of historic buildings and beautiful gardens and a wide-ranging programme of activities for visitors of all ages. Every year there is a traditional Swedish midsummer celebration in the museum park. Buy your midsummer lunch on site, take a cup of coffee in the museum café or bring your own picnic to the festivities. Often, student folk dancers from the University will perform.
Midsummer at a castle
If you fancy a royal midsummer then go to Örenäs Castle. This baroque style castle is known for its first-class restaurant serving a classical Swedish midsummer buffet packed with several varieties of herring, potatoes, bread, sour cream and everything else that makes up a traditional midsummer meal. Finish off the evening with a three-course meal in the castle and then spend the night at one of the 115 newly renovated rooms. If the weather is warm, you can take a dip in the outdoor pool.
Sofiero castle was built in 1866 for Swedish Prince Oscar and his wife, Sofia of Nassau. Midsummer at Sofiero is a tradition that goes back to when the royal family would invite friends and neighbours to celebrate. The garden of Sofiero is still a popular midsummer venue that attracts thousands of guests each year. Bring your own picnic basket or opt for a hot dog and an ice cream on site. There is folk dancing and games for the children. The garden is a wonderful attraction in itself, having been elected the most beautiful park in Europe.
Hovdala Castle by lake Finjasjön, near the city of Hässleholm celebrates midsummer with a communal raising of the maypole and games and dancing in the old courtyard. It’s a historic setting where you can still see examples of battles between the Swedes and Danes. There’s a nice restaurant and a café if you don’t feel like bringing your own picnic.
...or in an open-air museum
Fredriksdals museums and gardens in Helsingborg is one of the largest open-air museums in Sweden. The annual Midsummer celebration at attracts thousands of people every year. There’s folk dancing and music and people dance around the maypole on the large lawn. There are games for the children, horse and carriage rides, and temporary and permanent exhibitions to explore. Buy a hotdog or take your own picnic basket and enjoy a traditional Skåne midsummer.