MIDSOMMAR! This ancient tradition of celebrating the summer solstice is our favorite Swedish holiday to celebrate together in the land of the midnight sun! We spent the weekend with Jonas' twin's family on the west side of Sweden and it couldn't have been a more lovely time together!
We made a stop on the way to visit the quaint little town of Gränna!
The famous Swedish candy "Polkagris" (literally translated: polka pig) was first first invented in this town in 1859.
The traditional shape is a peppermint flavored candy stick and the classic color combo of red and white stripes is what defines the meaning of "polka" and there are about a dozen old-fashioned candy shops scattered along the main street of the town where you can even watch them making them!
Surprisingly, we didn't pick up any candy canes for ourselves but we DID get some "polkagris" flavored gelato, the perfect thing to kick off our midsummer weekend!
Gränna is a quintessential charming Swedish village with cozy cafes and antique shops nestled away into cute old red buildings.
The unique landscape and location of Gränna is what captivated us the most; if you look to one side you see a steep wall of rock and to the other side a most stunning view of the lake Vättern.
On a previous road trip to visit Jonas' family we actually stopped at a nearby medieval fortress where we got a most spectacular view of the fairytale landscape of Gränna and the lake (which you can see here).
Onward we went to meet Jonas' family at the most charming little red cabin overlooking a lake...
...it was so relaxing and the perfect place to spend a midsummer weekend.
The lupines were in gorgeous bloom the whole weekend with the most vibrant colors of purple, blue, and pink.
Isn't one of the most fun things about celebrating a holiday is all the good food?! Jonas' family sure spoiled us with loads of bbq, fika, and of course a strawberry cream summer cake!
Then it was time for the midsommar festivies! We went to a small open air museum sort of place called Haraberget where we just were in time to see them raise the "midsommarstång" and this was a variation of midsummer pole we hadn't seen before, but it's usual for different counties across Sweden to have different styles of maypoles.
Our favorite part is seeing the folk dancers in their beautiful traditional outfits, each unique to their hometowns.
Of course, we always enjoy dressing up in our own folk/viking inspired outfits. A downpour of rain started to fall just as we were taking this photo and as we were running to the car for shelter a guy said "Nu är det midsommar" (Now it's midsummer) which made us laugh because it seems to be tradition for it rain at least once on the day the Swedes are celebrating summertime!
On the night of midsummer's eve we sat by the lake close to midnight watching the bats fly over the water...since the sun never really "sets" around the summer solstice it was enchanting to watch them buzz about with the pale light of the Northern sky as the perfect backdrop.
Midsummer day was spent at this cute book cafe in an old red house on an old-fashioned Swedish style farm.
The inside of the cafe was absolutely charming with books scattered about...
...this fairytale book about Nordic creatures instantly caught our attention!
FIKA! Oh how lovely it is to sit outside in the summer with some delicious treats (and coffee for Jonas).
We had a lot of fun hanging out with our little 3 year old niece, we even went on a little adventure in the woods together...
...and found a hobbit hole!
Summer wild flowers...there's an old Swedish legend that says on midsummer night you will dream of your future spouse if you pick 7 different sorts of flowers in the evening light in total silence and place them under your pillow.
This medieval church ruin was near the cabin we were staying at and it was lovely to walk around there on midsummer day.
The weather was just lovely and there was a magical feeling in the air, being around such history always makes us feel that way but there was a little extra enchantment over the day being the summer solstice weekend.
Speaking of midsummer magic, we got a wild idea on the drive home to go on a last minute photo adventure! We headed into the woods a little before midnight and though the forest was dark, the sky was still light, and the candles *fairies* cast an enchanting glow on the trees...this was our midsummer night's dream come true and you can see more of that tale HERE!
It was the perfect way to spend the summer solstice and end our midsummer weekend festivities! Wishing you and yours a blessed summer season!
-Tales of Sheaves