Tomorrow, the Swedish year reaches it highest point: Midsummer Eve. The entire nation sits down, mostly in rainy weather somewhere out in the countryside at a country house painted rusty red, chowing down on pickled herring, new potatoes, hard bread and cheese. And schnapps, lots of schnapps, followed by dancing around a kind of Maypole covered in birch leaves and sporting wreaths of flowers. You are supposed to get drunk, and then waltz to accordian music out on a jetty sometime after midnight, the sun waiting just below the horizon and smudging the edge of the sky a rusty orange. You stagger to bed at 2:30 or so, just as the sun is rising.
We're going out to the archipelago, as usual. I hope that through some miracle it doesn't rain. But I suppose it doesn't matter, we'll have fun whether the sun shines or not.
The Swedish phrase for the day is trevlig midsommar. It means happy midsummer.
- by Francis S.