Friday, June 19, 2009

This is an old picture that I borrowed from the internet until I can take a picture my self. The midsummer pole. It might look like a christian cross, but it´s anything but. If you think as durty as You can You can see what it is :-) It´s a gigantic phallos :-) Midsummer has always been a pagan fertility celebration and for some reason the christian church never got rid of it. So every year people dance around the pole singing about the little frogs that are so funny to see :-)

Midsummer has always been an important holiday in Sweden. We celabrated it long befor christianity arrived here. People thought that plants had magical powers on midsummer nights and it was also the night fertility was highest. When the christians came they tried to make it a holiday to remember John the Baptists birth, but that was really never accepted here in Sweden.

I promised to show a picture of the swedish flag. Not the best picture but I took it from my car driving. It´s blue as the sky with a cross yellow as the sun.

This is how far I came with digging away the lawn on the pond spot. After that it has rained all the time more or less.

So every midsummer eve morning people gather to make the Midsummer pole. Usually it´s rather high and made like a big cross. The pole is dressed with branches with leafs and flowers. On the end of the horizontal pole hangs two flower wreaths. Some may think that this is a christian cross, but oh how wrong they are :-)

A yellow foxglove. We call it Thimble flower.

Helenium hoopsei.

Midsummer is after Christmas our biggest holiday. First we make the pole and after that music is played and we´re dancing around the pole for a long, long time. Mostly we do it for the children nowdays and thinking of what the pole really stands for it´s a bit fun for out of country visitors to se us all dansing and singing around the midsummer pole :-) :-)

Cuckoos wort.

The first picture taken with my new mobile phone. The camera is quite good.

After that we start to eat! The most important food on midsummer is new small potatoes and pickled harring in all its varieties. It seemes we have pickled harring on every holiday dinner :-) For us not to happy about pickled harring there is ofcourse a lot of other things to eat. Meatballs, a swedish sausage called Prince sausage, salmon, chicken and lots of other things. Later on the day families play games like crocket or boule.

Dogrose bud.

Now the Dogroses has started to flower in my garden.

Unfortunally hevy drinking is common too. This is one of the worst nights for the police to work on. Tomorrow some people will be hit by a drunk driver and some of them will die. But the worst day in traffic is actully Thursday (yesterday) and on Sunday. Every one wants to get to their summer houses as fastas possible on Thursday (most of us don´t work on Thursday and Friday even if they aren´t holidays) and on Sunday they are tired from the celebration when they drive home again.

One of the many geraniums that grows in my garden.

This moth was sitting on my Brugmansia, I think You call it Angels trumpet like we do (the brugmansia I mean). This is taken by my camera.

I´m not celebraiting midsummer because I think it´s sad that it all turns towards winter again. I know it´s stupid to think like that, summer has just begun and the warmest period (if lucky anyway) is till to come. But I can´t help it. In a day or two I´ve forgotten about it and things are back to normal again :-)
Have a great day now!

This is the same moth but the picture is taken with my mobile phone. Wit a few adjustments I think it´ll be impossible to se any differens between the two cameras, at least on close ups like this.


Anonymous said...

Christer, you're a party pooper. Get out there and have some fun. I see the weather forecast calls for hard rain in most of Europe for this weekend of celebration. That's a good start on the pond. It also looks like to dug a trench. What's that for? Love the photos today. Now you have two new cameras. Have a good one!

Valerie said...

Hi Christer.

Loved your post today! Great history lesson. I've always thought the Swedish flag was beautiful with its simplistic design. I think it's one of the most easily identifiable flags from around the world.

Of course, I also loved the history lesson on your Midsummer holiday. While I have to agree with Zoey (party pooper!) ;) I do understand your point of view. I'm always sort of sad on summer solstice b/c I delight in the long days and short nights of summer and the solstice marks the return to the shortening of days (albeit ever so subtly!).

Beautiful photos of your flowers. Your camera phone does take great shots...I'm sure much has to do with the operator!!! Hope your holiday isn't rained out even if you don't partake in festivities.


The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Hi Z&M!
I know I´m a party pooper, but only today :-) The rest of the year I´m not :-)

It´s always easier if one knows how big area one wants to get rid of the lawn before digging , so I started with the edges. It sort of looks like the trenches one digs around tents if bad weather is comming :-)

I took a nap earlier today and woke up to thunder, so I think that it´ll be a calm midsummers eve this year :-)
Have e great day now!

Roses and stuff said...

Du är en fantastisk ambassadör, Christer! Sprider kunskaper om Sverige och våra kulturtraditioner på ett väldigt underhållande sätt! Heja dig!
Glad midsommar - med eller utan drömmar!

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Hi Valerie!
I too think that our flag is beautiful. It´s actully the next oldest country flag in the world, only the danish is older.

That flag has helped (because it´s so well known)a lot of people since all know Sweden is a neutral country. Usually if there´s trouble sweeds can get out of troubled areas without harm and hopefully get some others out at the same time.

It seemes that this fertility thing has the strongest hold here in Sweden, but the celebration of midsummer is also very big in Finland, Estonia, Latvia and in some parts of the Brittish isles.

I know that I´m a party pooper :-) but only this holiday :-)

Thunder has been and visited for a short time and it will continue to rain now and again all day. Instead of partying I´ll replant some of what I sown this winter :-)
Have a great day now!

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Tjänare Katarina!
Jag censurerade det hela en del med tanke på de amerikanska läsarna :-) :-) De verkar ha gillat det i alla fall.
Ha en riktigt trevlig midsommar nu!

Mia said...

Skål ta mig f-n !! Det er bara midsommar en gång om året och även jag tycker det är trist att tänka på att vi går mörkare tider i möte, men, vi har fortfarande halva sommaren kvar. Själv har ag varit uten snö i ca 6 veckor, tänk på det, det ska då vara mer än 6 veckor till den kommer tilbaka... Tänker man på det så känns det bättre redan. Har ingen att fira midsommar med här i Norge men vi ska ha personalfest ikväll, så det får kompensera...så häv ditt glas broder och ta en skål för den nordiska fruktbarheten!!

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Tjänare Mia!
Sex veckor utan snö! Då bor du långt norr ut kan jag tänka eller uppe på fjället. Skall försöka tänka så som du gör :-)

Ja skål för den nordiska fruktbarheten! Om nio månader får vi se om det var någon framgång :-)
Ha en trevlig personalfest nu!

Visiting Voyeur said...

Interesting story. I am curious.. is the midsummer pole kind of like a may pole? I didn't see any ribbons attached to it so it probably isn't but the dancing around it seemed the same. Nice flower pictures. I also have foxglove... kind of a pinkinsh color I think. Thank you for sharing.


The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Hi Chelle!
I think they both have the same origine, both are old pagan symbols. But as You say we don´t have the ribbons on ours. We don´t have the Maypole though, that is mor from the brittish isles I think.

I think Fox gloves lives all over the northern part of the globe. If You want them they´ll die, but if You think of tyhem as weeds they thrive :-)
have a great midsummers eve!

NinaVästerplana said...

Midsommar är den enda helgen jag tycker det är trist att vara enbo..
Har nog smittat sonen, han sitter o tittar på fotboll i Stockholm....
Men jag ska försöka ta mig samman o koka potatis o ta fram en sillbit till min Jubileums ;-)
Go o gla midsommar på dig

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Tjänare Nina!
Känns väl rätt bra att vara enbo just denna helgen, då kan jag ju göra som jag vill :-) :-)
Jag kan för mitt liv inte förstå hur någon kan gilla inlagd sill :-)
Ha en härlig midsommarskväll nu!

jaz said...

hi christer....our midsummers eve is tomorrow night. here is a little history that i am not sure many people know. do you know where the symbol of the witch flying on a broom came from? long long ago on midsummer's eve when the pagans were celebrating, they would take their shovels and hoes and throw themselves in the air like a high jumper (i am sure there was alcohol involved)! they did this to show how high they wanted their crops to grow before the harvest. when the christians came around to "spread the only true faith" they used this as a negative symbols to scare people into christianity! towards fall i might post some of these stories on my blog! happy midsummers night!!! joyce

jaz said...

btw...thanks for the pic of the new pond!! haha!!!! now i can rest! your new phone camera is awesome!

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Hi joyce!
That one I haven´t heard before. Alcohol was probably involved I think :-) :-) I wonder why the church failed with midsummer poles here in Sweden? But we were much more strong heded than of course :-)

I´ll look forward to those stories then!
Have a great midsummer now!

jaz said...

stupid was not the high jump but the pole vault instead! the christians were not very successful in the scandinavian countries because they were stronger people and have very deep pagan roots!! you can tell how much a country adheres to the old ways by how many "witch" things are still prevalent in the culture. as recently as the 70's into the 80's scandinavian kitchen witch items were all the rage.

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Hi Joyce!
Okey. I know that a lot of things from the pagan days lived side by side with the christian ways for a very long time. But perhaps not very "official" so to speak. Like people used the runic alphabet way in to late middle age.
Have a great day now!

Vittran said...

Sommarsolståndet kopplades till Johannes Döparens födelsedag när vi kristnades här. Fast den hedniska högtiden försvann ändå inte riktigt, och tur är väl det. Håller med om att det känns lite sorgligt att vi vänder mot mörkare tider. Just precis som när naturen är som vackrast. Men vi är mitt inne i ljustiden, den varar mellan 30 april och 31 juli, vilket känns bättre att tänka på.
Fortsatt trevlig helg! Tänk ljust!

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Tjänare Vittran!
Jo, Johannes var ju sex månader äldre än Jesus så det passade ju bra med att vi firar jul 24/12. Men som du skriver, av någon anledning lyckades de ändå inte få bort just denna helgen och dess innebörd.

Bra sätt att tänka på, skall göra det i framtiden :-)
Ha en fortsatt härlig helg!