Last Friday, June 24, St. John the Baptist, in Northern Europe they celebrated the Mid Summer Night. When I was living in Estonia, I found out that it is a strong tradition also there and once I went with some friends to see what happened during that long weekend, as it is a public holiday!
Let me tell you a bit more about this tradition and how I link it to a possible opportunity for a change.
They celebrate that beautiful event either in the countryside or on the beach. On the day before almost everyone leave town, most of the shops close and the city streets become suddenly empty.
People there are aware of the relatively short summer they may have, and that’s why they celebrate it at the very beginning of the season. They often begin the day by picking flowers and making wreaths to place on the maypole, which is a key component of the celebrations. If they go to the beach, they light fires there.
There is also a typical Mid Summer menu, that features different kinds of pickled herring, boiled new potatoes with fresh dill, soured cream, and chives. Then they may eat grilled dish of some kind, such as spare rib or salmon, and for dessert, the first strawberries of summer with cream.
The traditional drinks are cold beers and schnapps, preferably spiced. Every time they fill in their glasses, singing breaks out anew.
Mid Summer is an occasion invested also with a certain nostalgia of the good old days.
After dinner, many people want to dance, preferably on an outdoor dance floor beside a lake, or the sea, as the evening mist settles and the sound of the music echoes back from the hills on the opposite shore.
Mid Summer is a popular time of year for weddings and Christening ceremonies too. Despite their poor showing at church in general, Nordic people still like to get married in a country church with a flower-bedecked, arched entrance and beautiful hymns.
The origins of Mid Summer Night celebrations go back to agrarian times when they were held to welcome summertime and the season of fertility. In some areas people dressed up as ‘green men’, clad in ferns. They also decorated their houses and farm tools with foliage, and raised tall, leafy maypoles to dance around, probably as early as the 1500s.
Beyond the traditional celebration, we can look at it today not only as an opportunity to celebrate the arrival of summer, but also a symbolic moment, as it is just after the summer solstice, when spring leaves the place to summer.
You could use this opportunity to decide to let go of something. For instance, you could write on a piece of paper what you want to get rid of and then burn it – with the necessary precautions if you do it inside. In open air (but far from trees, you don’t want to start a fire) you can decide to do it by sharing a collective ritual.
Another thing you could do is emptying the closets of everything you no longer use. You might consider a donation to a charity.
Then, why not reviewing your goals and decide which ones are still worth?
Moreover, do you have bad eating habits? Do you mismanage time? Or money? You can start thinking about bringing some changes also in these areas.
Finally, what about friendships and relationships? Try to find out how many people bring you joy and put you in a good mood. It is worth analysing how and with whom you spend your time.
Did you know this tradition? And are you ready to start your summer with a fresh change?
It would be great if you visit my personal blog crisbiecoach.blog!
8 thoughts on “Mid Summer Night”
I definitely fully realized what St. John the Baptist Day was some 35 years ago. My company arranged a week long sales visits to Les Îles de la Madeleine, a small archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in Canada. Not much happened in the way of sales, but did I have a great time!
Fantastic! Did you have a kind of the parties that they have in Scandinavia?
It is always good having a good time, you still remember it!
We did a naked bike ride here.
Watching Shakespeare’s play is always a good choice.
Oh yes, Shakespeare’s plays are always a good choice, as you say! Thank you for reading and commenting!
What a great post and inspiration, Cristiana. You have some great suggestions for marking the seasons. You’ve inspired me to clean out the closets and to be intentional about moving into summer. Thank you!
Thank you Wynne, happy that you could follow some of my suggestions, and above all with intention!