I had the evening off from my part as Production Designer for Gregoire last night and instead I donned a flowery crown, danced around a pole and taught Canadians the proper way to enjoy pickled herring. Last night was Midsummer’s Eve.
The celebration of Midsummer’s Eve was from ancient times a festival of the summer solstice. In Sweden, the sheer size of this celebration is rivaled only by Christmas and New Years Eve. Because Midsummer was thought to be one of the times of the year when magic was strongest, it was considered a good night to perform rituals to look into the future. Traditionally, young people pick bouquets of seven or nine different flowers and put them under their pillow in the hope of dreaming about their future spouse. In the past it was believed that herbs picked at Midsummer were highly potent, and water from springs could bring good health. Greenery placed over houses and barns were supposed to bring good fortune and health to people and livestock.
To me, Midsummer’s celebrations centers around friendships, both new and old. A lot of the traditions are slightly odd and sometimes silly and to an outsider, most of it doesn’t make sense (it doesn’t actually make a lot of sense to us Swedes either, but it’s what we do – just go with it). One of them being a song and dance about the tiny frogs, and how silly they look having neither ears nor tails. Yesterday, I got to share these odd and silly and wonderful traditions with these odd and silly and wonderful people I have gotten to know in this town. It warmed my heart then, as it warms my heart writing this now, to see everyone happily singing Swedish songs, to teach them the dances I remember from my childhood and watch them laugh as we hopped around the pole. There was definitely some Midsummer magic going around (and an ear or two of aquavit).
Today, it’s back on the Gregoire horse, intersected by auditions for the next Keyano production – and I will be walking around with a huge grin on my face all day.