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Today, the 24th of June, is when we celebrate Midsummer in Sweden. It´s Sweden’s second biggest holiday after Julafton (Christmas) and the tradition stretches back to ancient times.

The modern celebration is of course very different from the old ways, traditions do tends to change allot over time, but this date have without any doubt been important for the Norse people throughout history.

There is records from medieval sources mentioning this day in regards to the Vikings. Not much is known but we know Midsummer for the Vikings contained ritual mead drinking and blot (sacrificial to the old gods). The ritual mead drinking we still practice today, even if the mead have changed to beer and liquor.

The most obvious reason making this day magical is the summer solstice. Here at Vallheim, the sun will only dip under the horizon a brief moment this night before rising to another day. A few hours drive north and the sun will never set. Have you never experienced a midnight sun before, I guarantee your body will probably go into a disoriented shock.

If we go back just a few hundred years, to the peasant community, Midsummer were considered a night where the borders between the human world and the supernatural was at it´s weakest. It was easier to predict the future, healing plants had more power, you were more likely to find a treasure and if you drink water from fresh springs you would gain health and strength.

Midsummer have also been a day where we celebrate fertility, both in the vegetable kingdom and in men, and that did of course upset the Church who tried to change the tradition (and in many ways succeeded). But the frost never reaches the deepest roots and up to this day, 22 mars, 9 months after Midsummer, is the most common day to give birth in Sweden.

The modern celebration have turned out to be a very messy history. During the Midsummers week the Swedes buys 13,5 million liters alcohol – that over 1 liter alcohol per Swede (children included). Even as many joyful memories (or holes in those memories) is created this night, many tragedy’s is also written under that never darkening sky.

At Vallheim there will not be any drunkenness, but a little bit of barbeque, strawberry cake and games. Stay safe out there, whomever or wherever you are.

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