Midsummer is one of the oldest celebrations in Sweden, and as with most holidays, it’s surrounded by weird traditions. One of the weirdest, and of course most important, is to dress a maypole with leaves and flowers and then dance around it in a circle while, among other things, reenacting little frogs. Everyone skips happily around the pole and sings “Little frogs, little frogs are funny to see, they have no ears and tails, they have no ears and tails”. It’s really pretty odd.
The maypole is some sort of phallus symbol (there always seems to be a penis-replica somewhere, doesn’t it?) of potency and fertilization, but I have no idea of where the frogs came from. Maybe from France. I don’t know if I think frogs are that funny either, ears or no ears. Frogs are frogs if you ask me. Anyhow, weird as it is, it’s also pretty nice. People dress up, bring a picnic basket and wishes each other a happy summer. This year, I skipped the whole maypole-frog-thing, though, mainly because a) it was pouring down rain for about 48 hours straight and b) I’m 30 and don’t have any kids as an alibi, so I don’t think I could pull it off.
Another tradition that I also skipped is eating pickled herring for lunch. Normally, a Midsummer lunch consists of herring, new potatoes with dill, sour cream and chives. Since it’s Sweden, most people will have meatballs too. We eat meatballs on any holiday: Christmas, Easter, Midsummer, it’s our thing. While I love meatballs, I’m not a huge fan of pickled herring. I’ll eat a few pieces but I don’t want it to be the main component of my lunch. Instead, I made this mango-shrimp salad I found in a magazine. It’s absolutely foolproof but looks beautiful and tastes fantastic.
Here’s how you do: peel the shrimps, chop an avocado, a mango and some coriander and put in a bowl. Make a dressing of lemon and lime juice, olive oil, chopped up chili and garlic, salt and pepper. Add this to your salad. Eat on its own or as a part of a buffet. As I said, absolutely foolproof.