|25.06.2010 / 09:54 hrs.|
This Friday is a very special day in Sweden – Midsommarafton. It takes place during the summer solstice; we celebrate the longest day and the shortest night of the year, when the sun never sets below the horizon.
Originating from a hedonic tradition the celebration was adapted by the church in the 1200th century, with the effort to make the popular celebrations a bit – from the church’s point of view- more appropriate. Ancient stone monuments make it likely that this day has been celebrated for a long time, and although the traditions and rituals has changed through time this day is still an important part of the Swedish culture.
Today the celebrations often start with a classic Swedish lunch. Family and friends gathers around a table set with the traditional dishes. The same food is served on most of the Swedish holidays; pickled herring, smoked salmon, ham, eggs with mayonnaise and shrimps, beer and quite a lot of ice cold snaps.
At this time of year the trees are finally green again after a long and dark winter. It fills the Swedes with new energy and we go out in the fields to collect branches with leaves and pick flowers to make the traditional midsommarstång. This is a pole of wood that can be up to ten meters long, decorated with flowers and leaves. When the pole is finished, it is erected in an open place and people dance around it.
The pole – as you probably have guessed by now, is a symbol of fertility. Originally it was raised because people believed it would increase the amount of babies born the following year. An old saying is “the night of Midsummer is short, but it makes many cradles rock”. Another belief is that the phallus fertilizes the ground, promising a rich growth for the following harvest.
Udi Lagallina “Lingam and his yoni” 2009
Wood, pearls, fabrics
Photography by Rob Versluys
It is also common to pick and bind garlands of flowers worn as crowns in the hair, and the traditions says this is a way to make yourself irresistible to your desired future partner. It is quite a temporary tiara and the day after you can see them lying dry and dying on the ground.
, ring: Moonlight Shadow 2009
Gold 750, Silver 925
8 x 6,5 x 4 cm
Maybe it is the never setting sun, or the very short and bright night, that gives midsummer its magic and mysterious atmosphere. This is the night when you can see your future spouse in your dreams. If you pick 7 different flowers and climb over 9 fences and then go to sleep with the flowers under your pillow without uttering a single word, the story says you will dream of your future love.
From the diaries series 2008-2010
Photographer Maria Sahlander
It is also said that young women should be careful during this night when walking in the forest. “Näcken” is a man who sits in a creek with a crown on his head playing the violin. This beautiful, naked creature is ready to trick the woman into the dangerous water, so take care.
Ring: Hyacinth 2008
925 silver, plastic, adhesive, strawberry quarts
170 x 80 mm
We look back at our history and heritage and of course we see the connection to jewellery. Decorating our surrounding and ourselves seems like such a basic part of being human weather it is temporary with flowers or life long with a tattoo or a ribbon of gold around a finger. Midsummer symbolizes the turning of times. It is the climax of summer, before we move back towards winter with shrinking amount of daylight and long, cold nights. So today - this Friday - we will wear a suitable jewellery piece and enjoy as much daylight as possible.
- Karin Roy Andersson & Sanna Svedestedt