What is a Swedish Midsommar Party?

What is a Swedish Midsommar Party?

Midsommar is one of the most celebrated holidays in Sweden, taking place every June during the summer solstice. Friends and family gather together in their local park or garden to enjoy a traditional late lunch, sing songs, play games, wear flower crowns and drink aquavit - which you know we’re big fans of!

This year we're even hosting our own Midsommar food and cocktail party at the distillery on the 22nd June, with some Swedish elements and a few added extras. If you've missed our Street Food Saturday events, this is for you!

The History

Many of the traditions came about from the belief that Midsommar was a magical time of good fortune and healing. Fires were often lit and loud singing was encouraged to ward off evil spirits.

In Sweden, Midsommar festivals have been around for over 500 years. They have their roots in Pagan rituals, welcoming the summer and season of fertility around the longest day of the year.

The midsommarstång (or maypole) plays a big part in the celebrations. Usually decorated with green garlands and flowers - as people believed that plants were especially magical that night and that supernatural beings were at their most active. It was also a popular time for gathering herbs for healing, which were at their peak.

Flowers play an important part of the traditions as well, as a symbol of the coming season. Young women pick seven different kinds of flowers (in silence as to not break the magic) and put them under their pillow on Midsommar night, so they will dream of their future husbands.

What do you normally eat and drink?

On the menu at a Midsommar party you can usually expect to find a few faithfuls, including pickled herring, new potatoes with dill, aquavit and fresh strawberries. A true taste of the season in Sweden.

A vital part of enjoying the accompanying aquavit is the toasting and singing. For each toast, a new song is sung. One of the most popular drinking songs is Helan går. Helan (meaning the whole) is an expression referring to the first small glass of spirit in a series - and går, which means goes down. This can be loosely translated as ‘Bottoms Up!’.

Come and celebrate Midsommar with us!

We’re throwing our own take on a Midsommar party at the distillery on Saturday 22nd June. Join us for cocktails & food, as well as a maypole, games, flowers and music. Our neighbours Orchard Kitchen will be serving up a Midsommar inspired menu from the garden with outdoor spit roasted Humble By Nature reared lamb, Swedish herring plates and a specially tailored Midsommar drinks menu - as well as music from Bristol club legend and Tintern resident, J Morrison. Tickets (which include your food) can be found here.

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