Midsummer Maypole

Maypole on Möja, midsommar

After lunch, we headed to where the traditional maypole festivities take place. This was a little walk down the road from where we had lunch, and at that stage, it was good timing to get moving after all the food! The maypole is part of the pagan tradition surrounding midsommar, to welcome summer time and celebrate a season of fertility (how fitting that the maypole reflects the male genitalia…!). But seriously, by this time of the year, everything is growing, everything that could be green is, flowers are out, bees are buzzing (and mosquitoes tend to make their presence felt about now too) and it just feels good!

Summer wreath making

As I already mentioned, food is a big part of celebrating this tradition. Although we had just filled ourselves with delicious goodies at lunch, washed down by snaps, a big strawberry covered cake and coffee made its way to the maypole celebrations with us! Yum!

Strawberry sponge cake

 
Sadly however, we missed the start of the traditional singing and dancing around the maypole, including the ever famous “Små Grodorna”, the Little Frogs (click here for the words). This song sees big and small holding hands in a circle around the maypole, rushing in, rushing out in time to the song, bending down and hopping like frogs, and acting out whichever other animal is called out by the person leading the singing. Absolutely hilarious, and it is so nice to see adults let go of their inhibitions and just enjoy the moment.
 
Following the singing, the midsommar celebrations at Möja continue with games – potato and spoon races for the children (think egg and spoon but far less messy), where it might be noted most children missed the point of running with the potato balanced on the spoon, and instead held the spoon in one hand and the potato in the other. These races are for everyone, even children so small that mum or dad, or in some cases big sibling, has to assist the youngster with just staying on their feet, as the first unassisted steps had not yet been taken. Some confusion reined amongst the little ones, who forgot (or maybe never knew) that they must run out and around a smaller maypole and back. A few tears made an appearance on the faces of aforementioned youngesters who got confused and realised they weren’t winning, soon replaced by beaming smiles when rewarded with their wooden home-made medals (awesome effort whoever made these!) and little bag of sweets.
 

Small children line up for the potato and spoon race.

And then came the “big” kids… But no spoon and potato races here, instead the sack race. For those over 18, the sacks were thrown in a heap, and competitors were left to fend for themselves to get a sack to jump into. A few people ended up on the ground, and getting into a sack became the challenge of the day. A bit of t-shirt pulling, pushing and good natured jeering, but everyone was laughing at the end (and the big kids got wooden medals and sweets as well). 

 

The big kids take their turn at midsommar day races too.

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