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A Midsummer night’s dream


MIDSUMMER. Erik Nilsson writes about a magical Swedish Midsummer celebration with Resistance Movement comrades.

Swedish maypole at Midsummer

In simplicity we find beauty.

Somewhere in Sweden, where magical forests stretch on forever and the lakes are too many to count. A winding country road, where the gravel crunches, as if to announce our arrival. A forest glade. A red house with white trim. Here we gather. Young and old, women and men. Children and animals.

Stream glistening in sunlight, Sweden

Long tables await, decorated with splendid bouquets, while the maypole stands adorned with leafy vines. Everyone helps to serve the food, watch over one another’s children and make sure the dogs get cold water and a place in the shade. In the background, classic Swedish summer songs play, with lyrics reminding us that “summer is short” and that “sun, wind and water” are the best things there are.

Strawberry cream cakes at Midsummer in Sweden

I cast my gaze over the farmyard and take in the whole scene. It looks like a Carl Larsson painting that has suddenly come to life. It’s like a meeting between Astrid Lindgren’s Bullerby Children and Madicken – and I want it to last forever.

Being able to gather with comrades, to laugh, to experience the true feeling of folk community – it is a gift, a privilege, and a joy for the soul.

Swedish woman wearing wreath at Midsummer

The evening progresses with dancing around the maypole, barbecuing and delightful conversation. The sun never seems to want to go down, and the conversations continue around the grill, which now acts as a fireplace.

Campfire flames

For centuries our ancestors have gathered around the fire – and here we are. Side by side, as it always should be. So simple and so beautiful.

Thank you for allowing me to be part of this tableau, of this idyll. Thank you for the warmth and community. Thank you for a magical Midsummer.

Erik Nilsson