It is said that Midsummer is the most magical time of the year. The elves dare to come closer to the houses of the Children of Eve, the trolls adorn their tails with linden tree blossoms and honeysuckle and the supernatural violinist “Näcken” evokes strands of notes from his fiddle. Beware if you plan to go out on a nightly adventure to gather flowers, Näcken can lure you away from the path!
Who knows if it is true but the old folk say that the folk song “Uti vår Hage” (out in the yonder field) actually is a recipe for a magic love potion. The song, much like the English “Scarborough Fair” lists various herbs and flowers to go into the drink. Because some of the herbs in the Swedish song are poisonous, darker traditions claim that the potion is actually an abortive. After all, Midsummer is ancient fertility festival and one may assume that not all encounters in the twilight of midsummer night were intended to produce offspring. As enchanted and beautiful as it is, midsummer also heralds ever darkening nights until the harsh and dreaded northern winter. Putting one’s faith in toxic plants was a desperate last resort to prevent more mouths to feed.
Tradition gives us a simple trick to inspire love in another person. Simply carry a red apple in your armpit throughout the day and give it to someone to eat in the evening. They will love you passionately all night! And for those who aren’t shy, tradition holds that rolling naked in the midsummer night’s dew will guarantee health and prosperity for the coming year. And last but not least: the time honored tradition of putting under your pillow seven different flowers gathered beyond seven fences. You will dream of your true love. But remember: you cannot speak to a living soul from the moment you start picking the flowers until you wake up in the morning. And should you happen to meet the queen of the fairies or the king of the trolls on your nightly stroll, you’d better bow or curtsy. Such high folk don’t like rude humans.
And with that we wish you a happy Midsummer’s Eve
Here below is a contemporary folkloric version of the song “Uti vår hage”. The artists are Lena Willemark and Ale Möller. The clip is from youtube. Please support the artists if you will.