This Friday is midsummer. The longest day of the year.
If you’re in the northern parts of Sweden, the sun never sets around this time of year. It just sinks lower and lower in the sky, until it suddenly starts to rise again.
My father is from the very north of Sweden. When his parents were still alive, I remember spending a week there around this time of year, waiting for the sun to go down so that we could go to sleep. As this never happened, me and my brother stayed up until four in the morning, giving up as we saw the sun rise, being able to sleep only for a few hours at a time.
In the southern parts of Sweden, the sun will set, but only briefly. On midsummer, you typically stay up and watch the sun set and rise, all accompanied by drinking, singing, dancing around the pole and lots of food.
It’s an old fertility rite, so it’s no coincidence that the pole in question looks like an upside-down penis. But here’s a video to explain it all.
If you’re going to Sweden this fall, make sure not to miss out on midsummer next year ;).