The pre-Christian celebration of Midsommar was a summer
solstice, agrarian celebration with fertility and harvest symbols. After the
imposition of Christianity, Midsommar dag (Midsommar day), June 25, was
observed as St. John the Baptist Day. In Sweden today, Midsommar afton
(Midsommar eve) falls upon a Friday between June 19 and 25.
Midsommar afton possesses magical properties. Water
possesses healing powers, and it is alleged that water turns into wine. Ferns
turn into flowers, and many plants acquire healing powers on that one night
of the year. One can also discover treasures by studying how moonbeams
fall during that short night. Gathering flowers to weave into wreaths and
crowns was a way to harness nature’s magic to ensure good health
throughout the year. Midsommar afton was long considered a magical night
and the best time for telling people’s futures.
“Midsummer night is not long but it sets many cradles to rock.” For
unmarried girls, it’s said that if you pick seven (or sometimes nine) types of
flowers at midnight and place them under your pillow, you’ll dream of your
future husband. Girls ate salted porridge so that their future husbands
might bring water to them in their dreams, to quench their thirst. Many
Swedish babies are born on the 21 of March, nine months after midsummer.
Other magical properties: holding out tongue to sun to acquire
supercharged vitamin D and become irresistible to unmarried people of the
opposite sex; also, catching rain drops on your tongue changes the weather
to sunshine. Eating 7 kinds of cilantro in your salad give you the strength to
get up and go. Finding 7 pennies on the sidewalk and carrying will provide
you good luck for the next 7 years.