Saturday, May 17, 2008
The Sun's March Towards Pagan Celebration
The view from our deck shows that the sun continues its race northward. Currently, from sunrise to sunset, there are 16 3/4 hours of daylight. Add another hour or so on either end for dawn and dusk (twilight) and you understand why I am no longer a night owl in the traditional sense. Given our latitude, the angle of the sun as it intersects the horizon is becoming more acute. This will continue until it dives below the horizon for just a few hours a day. A relentless drive that ends at the summer solstice. Midsummer.
Midsommar is not just the longest day of the year, it is also one of Sweden's most celebrated holidays. Midsommer originated in pre-Christian times and has never shaken off its pagan beginnings. My kind of holiday. A good overview of the festivities can be found here and here. In short, every community erects a maypole and spends the day and well into the night eating, drinking, singing and dancing. Traditions include eating pickled herring and new potatoes, drinking snaps (aka schnapps), and performing the frog dance. Here's an IKEA commercial produced by the company's German subsidiary that parodies the Swedish holiday traditions. I think it's a parody.
Hmmm. Fish, alcohol, and pole-dancing. In Sweden, a national holiday. In the US, a career choice. [Think about it. Oh yes I did.]