Did you know this upcoming weekend is Midsommar? It’s the famous Swedish celebration where people dance around a pole with flowers in their hair. But it’s much more than that, it’s actually the second most important holiday in Sweden after Christmas where all the family and friends come together to eat, drink and celebrate.
This year I will have my very first Midsommar experience because I will follow the invitation of Absolut all the way to Åhus in Sweden to participate in their Midsommar Weekender. I’m expecting a lot of flower crowns, flying ribbons and of course lots of vodka shots.
But you don’t have to be in Sweden to celebrate Midsommar. It’s actually being celebrated all around the world. And since the Berliners love all things Sweden we thought we compile a little guide to Midsommar in Berlin for you guys. Enjoy!
Step 1: The Location
The Swedes normally leave their cities behind and go out into nature to celebrate Midsommar to some weekend house by the water. As Berlin is quite green even inside the ring you could also take the short way to the nearest “Volkspark”. Our favorite spots would be somewhere along the Spree, either on the Treptower Park side or on the peninsula Alt Stralau. Ask around if any of your friends or family own a so called “Datsche” which is how Berliner call their low-key weekend retreat house which is normally just a small wooden shack surrounded by a little piece of land.
Step 2: The Guests
Midsommar is traditionally a celebration for family and friends. As we have quite a bunch of family holidays here in Berlin you should definitely consider your friends for this one. Maybe even bring family and friends together in a big mixed group? It’s the perfect occasion to mix generations. I’m sure your parents will appreciate finally meeting some of your friends and vice versa.
Step 3: The Maypole
This is a tricky, yet essential one. One of the most central traditions of the Swedish Midsommar celebration is the so-called “Midsommarstang” or Maypole. It’s a bit the equivalent of the Christmas tree and preparing it is part of the joy. It’s normally a pole that is decorated with flowers, buntings and ribbons that will be erected in a festive act and than all the family dances around it. I know the last time you danced around a pole was probably at some dark nightclub around a concrete column, so you already know the drill. Doing a Maypole here in Berlin will require you a wooden pole (could also be a large dead branch), a stand and lots of decoration. Don’t be shy on the buntings, as they make for all the fun and are totally Insta-worthy.
Step 4: The Drinks
The Swedes typically drink a lot of vodka shots called nubbes during the Midsommar celebration. We will most certainly drink a lot of Absolut shots at the Midsommar Weekender in Åhus. If you want to go a little lighter we recommend also a fresh fruit punch with berries, freshly squeezed juice, vodka and soda. You can of course also mix refreshing and summery cocktails such as the Absolut Elderflower Collins (5cl Absolut, 2cl Lemon Juice, 2cl Elderflower Sirup, Soda, Lemon Slices). Cheers!
Step 5: The Food
It’s going to be a smorgasbord of delicious things, and I mean that quite literally! The table should be full of fresh delicious food. Traditionally that would be the young potatoes, cheeses, Knäckebröd (Swedish crips bread), fresh herrings, and for dessert strawberries with cream. Mmmm, that sounds good, right?
Step 6: The Flower Crowns
The flower crowns that you know from practically any music festival these days actually have their origin in the Midsommar tradition. It was mostly something the girls and kids did, but nowadays you also can do a male equivalent with flower beards. Depending how crafty you want to get you can either go full-on DIY and glue fake flowers, leaves and ribbons together on a headband. Or you do it more natural by braiding wild flowers into a circle that you plucked down by the nearest meadow. The nice part about this is actually the process of being creative and crafty together with your friends, not just taking the Instagram selfie in the end (but of course you will do that, too).
Are you in the mood for Midsommar now? We hope our little guide will inspire you to import this beautiful tradition from Sweden over here to Berlin. Stay tuned for our review of our own Midsommar experience at the Midsommar Weekender with Absolut in Åhus.
Thanks for the support by Absolut