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Six reasons to hate Midsummer in Sweden

Six reasons to hate Midsummer in Sweden

Published: 19 Jun 2012 10:24 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Jun 2012 10:24 GMT+02:00

While most Swedes are bursting with excitement ahead of their traditional Midsummer celebrations, contributor Anderson Harris explains why he thinks this über-Swedish tradition leaves something to be desired.

Midsummer Mania is here again, and frankly, I'm sick of it.

Every year it's the same old blathering on about the sill, snaps, and strawberries – what we've been drilled to understand as the requisite ingredients for any proper Midsummer celebration.

And then there is the weather, always with the damned weather.

Lord knows residents in this forlorn land on the frozen peripheries of Europe talk enough about the freakin' weather during the rest of the year.

Related photo gallery: Things to hate about Midsummer in Sweden

But in the weeks leading up to Midsummer, the prognosticating and pontificating about Sweden's oft dismal weather reaches a positively fever pitch.

And the Swedish press is more than willing to participate in preying on Swedes' penchant for planning and their near-pathological obsession with what may be falling from the sky.

"Soggy weather for Midsummer this year"

"Here is where you'll find the best weather on Midsummer"

"Get ready to spend Midsummer inside"

This year, the only thing that has been blown more out of proportion by newspapers in Sweden than the chances of Midsummer sun were the national football team's chances at Euro 2012.

It's as if Swedes and Swedish newspaper believe they can simply, by sheer force of will and hopeful expectations, bring about the desired result – whether it be in the skies or on the football pitch.

Sorry Swedes, but as far as I know, there is no correlation between the number of newspaper articles promising good weather and the certainty of sunny skies on Midsummer.

Yet, after all these years, Swedes still don't seem willing to accept this reality.

Of course, weather-related hand-wringing is just one of the Midsummer traditions in Sweden that I would gladly see tossed out like a jar of rotten herring (oh wait, I forgot, in Sweden, people eat rotten herring).

So whether you love Midsummer like Swedes loves their snaps, or, like me, loathe it with a passion most Swedes reserve for sporting losses to Norway or Finland, be sure to check out the gallery below detailing the six reasons to hate Midsummer in Sweden.

Anderson Harris

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Your comments about this article

11:58 June 19, 2012 by gpafledthis
Olly ? Spice this up a bit willya ??
12:00 June 19, 2012 by libertarianism
I love Midsommar.

String up sourpuss Harris from a midsommarstång, for pelting with old potatoes, bruised strawberries, and herring heads.
12:07 June 19, 2012 by gpafledthis
Jeez #2 treats cultural decline as if it was some Olympic Downhill sport !
12:08 June 19, 2012 by EtoileBrilliant
I love Midsummer too. Every year I feel like Edward Woodward in the Wicker Man, waiting to be strung up by the locals.
12:09 June 19, 2012 by tranel

Dear author - my apologies if our culture and our traditions are not the same as yours. I understand that you come from an enlightened culture; we are but smurfs splattered with yellow paint eating slimy pickled fish.

Dude seriously, maybe you should just go home.
12:10 June 19, 2012 by skogsbo
something tells me Andersson is right miserable git, you can drink fine wine with medium rare fillet, if the food and drink bothers you. You don't have to dance, but the kids enjoy it - so why not? Traditional costume, jealously, because your home nation doesn't have any? Weather, it happens, but it's no reason to stop the party or get over excited, skins waterproof!
12:16 June 19, 2012 by gpafledthis
Ok Ok !! But WHAT is malmo up to ??
12:20 June 19, 2012 by Birger Johansson
I agree with skogsbo, the important thing is that the kids enjoy it. And unlike the other big holidays, you are not expected to consume stuff, buy expensive gifts, buy halloween stuff for the kids et cetera.

This is a good excuse for the family to get out in the air, even if you sometimes need to bring an umbrella.
12:57 June 19, 2012 by Mpf
Anderson Harris! What is your friggin' problem. If you are in Sweden and not a "real" Swede why write an article bad mouthing their culture. As is mentioned before if you don't like it shut up or bugger off somewhere else where the people celebrate the thing YOU want to celebrate.


I don't care much either for midsummer but I am here and if the Swedes want to do whatever it is they want to do in their own country, let them. It doesn't bother me what they do, what they drink or what they eat. If you don't want a part of it then don't eat it, don't drink it and don't get involved.
13:06 June 19, 2012 by Paul_225
What an awful non-article this is.
13:21 June 19, 2012 by fakeempire
This article was stupid and pointless. There are ups and down about every holiday. Author is just suffering from depression and needs to seek help. Move to another country like Spain then if you hate it so much.
13:23 June 19, 2012 by saar
The only valid reason to roll out such a crap is to create more website traffic. Otherwise it is a sheer stupidity.
13:24 June 19, 2012 by fakeempire
And I agree with everything mpf said. If you don't like the traditions then start your own traditions at home! That is what we are doing this year! Instead of heading out to a camping ground with the in-laws and drinking our faces off while eating bad rotten fish, I am actually doing something about it by having a grill party without sill and making some nice fruity drinks. Things to grill = burgers, chicken, steak, etc. I just want to be outside and enjoy the time off, not feel tied down by "tradition."
13:35 June 19, 2012 by EP
Great article, couldn't have said it better myself. I always though, why is there no varation between holidays in Sweden when it comes to food. It's always herring herring herring ... I like herring but seriously, try something else, get out of your comfort zone ... do something dare I say, spontaneous a bit ...
13:49 June 19, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
I agree - great article and I think many would share in what the author says. Of course, nobody says you HAVE to take part in these activities.

Interesting thing about some comments here is how some folks are quick to say 'clear off elsewhere then!' or 'misery guts' to anyone criticizing anything Swedish.

I think a certain plurality of opinion is a good thing
14:22 June 19, 2012 by gpafledthis
Ah sweedies !! "outta the comfort zone into da combat zone" I was thinking of another dance for sweedies if "Masochism Tango" not exactly an abba hit First ya have 2 lines of sweeds 1 turn around bend over ( No! huh TL) well you know Then the 2nd bend over for the 1st !! And ya keep it in the family
14:33 June 19, 2012 by Sara1975
I wouldn't call this criticism, it's rather mockery, which I personally find unethical. It's locals' prerogative to criticize their own culture or traditions. My home culture and traditions have some aspects which I am also skeptical about, but I would be offended if any expat "criticize" them in a way the author does.

P.S. I love midsummar )))
14:41 June 19, 2012 by Borilla
Anderson Harris - neither funny, cute nor ironic. Writing is obviously not one of your talents. Sadly, I suspect that if a shrink were to examine your diatribe, he would suggest that you be placed on heavy medication. You don't really have any fun at all do you?
16:44 June 19, 2012 by Evrin
such a fantastic survey...

seat back and enjoy Swedish attitude toward and article ... ;)
16:50 June 19, 2012 by skogsbo
I just don't get it, if there was a music concert in a local arena, serving korv and burgers at the interval, no one is forcing you to go there and listen, dance or eat the food, plus you wouldn't moan about it to everyone either, so what's the difference.

I think the writer is just trying to score easy points, by writing an article that goes against Swedish tradition on an expat site, clearly The Local is going to publish it, because it publishes every negative, American opinionated article that is written, regardless of the quality or the substance, within it.
17:25 June 19, 2012 by libertarianism
Is Anderson Harris a pen name?
17:29 June 19, 2012 by rfmann
"I think a certain plurality of opinion is a good thing "

Simon, you clearly haven't understood the first thing about this place. Clear off elsewhere already! ;-)
17:30 June 19, 2012 by cogito
"I just don't get it, ..., no one is forcing you to go there ...The Local is going to publish it, because it publishes every negative, American...." (#20)

And no one is forcing you to go to TheLocal. Take your own advice and stop moaning about this witty and refreshingly original look at Midsummer.

(btw, what's it got to do with America?)
18:29 June 19, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
@ rfmann

Just waiting to sell my property Lol!
18:51 June 19, 2012 by Tarc the Mexan
gpafledthis, seek professional help.
19:28 June 19, 2012 by johan rebel
One way to avoid having to complain about Midsonnar: move to another country.

As for the weather, you just need to pick the right spot to live. I enjoy a mean annual precipitiation of under 500 mm, and an average of 10-11 hours of sunshine per day in spring and early summer. That's plenty enough for me.
20:14 June 19, 2012 by towns
How could anyone hate Midsummer?

This "Anderson Harris" (if that is indeed his/her/its real name) character who wrote this article sounds like another useless United Statesian "journalist" import the Local.se is using. Word of advice to the Local, get rid of this "Anderson Harris" creature. This is one of the worst articles on here in a long time. Not since Carmen Price rambling about her pre-conceived notions of Sweden have I witnessed such illiterate drivel masquerading as journalism.
20:52 June 19, 2012 by skogsbo
Cogito, witty? your trying to write your own joke now? America, the fact that every article written on this site compares Sweden to the US, the US celebrate 4th of July better than Sweden flag day, some other dude writes how immigrants intergrate and are treated better in the USA, then there is Rebecca's drivel and on it goes...

You are right, I don't have to read it though, that is true. The same as the commentator doesn't have to comment if he hates everything midsummer so much? Only he probably doesn't, he'll be there with his song sheet, picking out the flavoured snaps and cringing with the burning throat, just like everyone else! Lets home someone spots him somewhere and starts a thread to tell us about, wouldn't that be funny? :)
22:37 June 19, 2012 by dizzymoe33
I bet you will find the author of this story lying on the ground under someone Midsummer pole drunk off his butt!!! I think your Midsummer sounds wonderful. Happy Midsummer everyone!!
22:50 June 19, 2012 by Smokebox
The best part about midsummar is all the drunks. What a good laugh....
00:35 June 20, 2012 by Authentica
Some people have just too much time on their hands..
04:28 June 20, 2012 by kzjh72
Come on folks, this article was well written and quite funny. I like midsummer, especially the 'sill and snaps' but still had a laugh at Harris objections to the same, and he certainly has a point when it comes to 'Små Grodorna'. How embarrassing isn't it to see grown ups jump around in that kids dance? However, on a couple of occasions, after a few to many 'snapsar' even I have participated in this foolishness to the delight of the kids. Which makes it all worth it.
06:46 June 20, 2012 by jefebro
I think this author has a lot of anger issues from a dysfunctional childhood to be so cynical. If Swedes want to enjoy Midsummer, what's the problem?
09:53 June 20, 2012 by rise
@ gpafledthis

I can !! write exclamationmarks !! just like !! you too !!
11:48 June 20, 2012 by mcjensen
Lighten up folks
14:27 June 20, 2012 by Emerentia
I wonder... if I Swede moved to the US and wrote about how much he hated Fourth of July or Thanksgiving would that be appreciated?
18:26 June 20, 2012 by delfinita
Jeez people relax.

Here they ear herring.

In Spain we eat tapas.

So what. We are in Sweden, so when in Rome...otherwise, go spend midsommar elsewhere. I am going to London to see musicals. Not because i dislike Midsommar, i think its a lovely tradition (like any other) but it just happened to be like this...
21:23 June 20, 2012 by cogito
@#36, Emerentis,

Wonder no longer. There are also Swedes who have written how much they hate the Fourth of July without having ever set foot in the US.

But, of course, no one may ever criticize Sweden...not even in humor.
21:27 June 20, 2012 by A_K_W
Anderson Harris - What a dumbass!! Fermented baltic herrings not rotten herring, you can not eat rotten food!
22:02 June 20, 2012 by jimfromcanada
We understand this perfectly in Canada. The weather is the most important thing. Good weather makes life like heaven, especially compared with the frozen hell of winter.
01:50 June 21, 2012 by mcarroll1
Hey, Forget about the weather - it is going to be good, I love Sweden and the midsummer madness, Everything stops for this, It marks the start of everything for summer. It is mad and every country should embrace this - its like St Patricks Day but goes on longer and its for the kids too. Get to bed or off the streets before 1230 to avoid the excesses of drunkeness though. Have a great celebration everyone.
11:00 June 21, 2012 by cogito
Midsummer celebrations in Sweden were very messy in some places in the country...6 people have been reported dead. The police report incidents such as drunkenness, fights and assaults were rife around the country....(police report Saturday, 25 June 2011)

Compare and contrast:

June 20, 2012- in New York's Times Square. 14,000 people celebrated the summer solstice in a massive yoga event called Mind Over Madness.

(For pictures of how to celebrate midsummer without drunken mayhem, google Mind Over Madness in New York). (apologies to Skogsbo for the hissy fit this will provoke.)
11:09 June 21, 2012 by Emerentia
I didn't really wonder if there were any Swedes who had done that, I wondered if those actions were appreciated by the Americans. I find it rather insulting when a guest, what country they may come from, start to complain and moan about the food they recieve or something else at a party. That's rude.

1) If one don't like snaps, just don't drink it. No problem. 2) A lot of people do spend Midsummer grilling too. We had both grilled food and herrings at our midsummer parties as long as I can remember. 3) Here I do agree, there is a idealized image of Midsummer, like New Year's and Christmas, but everybody has a choice if they want to persue that or not. It's ok to have a low key celebration too. 4) Dancing around the pole are for the kids, and many Swedes like to put a smile on their kids faces, even if it means that mum and dad is playing and looking silly for a while. 5) Not many people wear these clothes actually, it's mostly those who play the violins and accordions and such. June 6th, means nothing to us. We didn't have any revolution or civil war or some thing like that to celebrate. And btw, should people who celebrate Halloween be the ones who complain about others silly costumes? Really? 6) Here I agree again, it's hard for us every year to face that they day's are getting shorter again.

Glad midsommar allihop!
14:07 June 21, 2012 by RadioBob
I lived in Sweden for 2 1/2 years. We moved back to the U.S. two weeks after the Midsummer of 2010. My wife & I spent that holiday weekend with good friends in Hjo. It was one of the best weekends we have ever had and will remind us forever of allof the good times we had in Sweden and the close friends we will have forever.
17:01 June 21, 2012 by Ron Pavellas
OK, Mr. Harris, now you've got the attention you wanted for this article and you can now lighten up. I'm from California and have lived in Stockholm for ten years. I'll take any excuse to eat sill and drink snaps with family and friends.

If you were really serious in this writing, may I suggest you relax a bit and enjoy life a little more?
00:39 June 22, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
Where on Earth does The Local keep digging up these hack writers? This honesty reminded me of a U.S. high school newspaper article, except that American teens don't usually use this much anger in their writings.

This will be my second Midsommar in Sweden and I LOVE IT! I am not fond of sill or snaps so we will have grillkorv and öl instead. Just enjoy the silly dancing & beautiful drunk people and adapt the food and drink to your own tastes if needed.
06:56 June 22, 2012 by dukesy
Mr Harris,for god sake lighten up,for a start its a `British` custom to winge about the weather all the time,not a `Swedish` one,the Swedes just copy us over here.

If you really want to get depressed about continous `crap` weather,ill sort you a room out for a month,see what us `brits` get,...and we just moan and put up with it......we have to.....cant change it can we.

Other thing is,dont deride the `pickled herring`,or as we in UK would call it `soused herring`,its fantastic stuff.....love it....really.

On the Swedish style crispbread....its beautifull. Dont know where Abba got the recipe from,but could seriously make a pig of myself on that.

But Mr Harris,if you really get so depressed as that,either move out to warmer climes,or end it all......dont know if Sweden has any high bridges to jump off,berring the Odersunde one,but if not,we can help....Newcastle has 3 high enough to do the job.

Incidentally,i would rather have the British/Scandinavian type weather than the HOT stuff any day, must be the Viking blood in me.....LOL

Cheer up mate.....your a long time dead.

Till alla pa Lokal,ha en bra sommar och jag hoppas du far lite bra vader.
15:36 June 22, 2012 by HorstRadisch

I've lived in Sweden for 20 years and love the place, but always do my damnedest to get the hell out of the country for midsummer. This year I'm on a Greek island, and with no signs of any financial crisis and well away from herring, penis-shaped maypoles, and assorted other crap, I'm in 7th heaven!
15:50 June 22, 2012 by gabeltoon
# dukesy GOOD ON YA MATE. Being a SCOT i love herring in any form and adding snaps WOOPY. Celabrating the fun and the food and booze sounds better than thinking of the weather.Take the weather we in SCOTLAND are having right now i'd go for the MIDSUMMER FEST any time.
22:38 June 22, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Good food, BBQ and alcohol all you are missing is the fireworks but it all sounds like one heck of a good time!! And why not life is too short and too serious it is good to just blow off some steam but be safe about it. Happy Midsummer!
15:25 June 23, 2012 by cogito
..."always do my damnedest to get the hell out of the country for midsummer..." (#48).


But look at what you're missing:

"Police forces across Sweden had a busy evening on Friday with widespread drunkenness, fighting, a mugging, and a stabbing reported as the country celebrated Midsummer." (2012, June 22. Midsummer in Sweden)
19:39 June 23, 2012 by Tarc the Mexan
I've lived in Maryland. You could combine all the crimes and violent incidents of ten Swedish midsommar holidays and it would still be less violent than a normal day in Baltimore City.
12:54 June 24, 2012 by cogito
# 52: Maryland-Sweden, vastly different demographic. Doh.
17:39 June 24, 2012 by Tarc the Mexan
#53: Irrelevant. Even after adjusting for the population disparity, Sweden as a nation is still much safer and less violent.

19:48 June 28, 2012 by Whynot8
I hate mid-summer in Sweden because then I know summer is almost over. The whole northern hemisphere acknowledges that summer began on June 20th. Three days late it was mid-summer in Sweden. Consequently, three more days brings us to the end of summer. Thus, June 27th was the first day of autumn.

I long for a country with a longer summer.
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