Midsummer light captured at a lake near the city of Örebro, Sweden
© Anders Jorulf/Getty Image
Midsummer's Eve in Sweden
This mirrorlike lake—pictured not at dawn nor dusk, but under the tireless midnight sun that marks Scandinavian summers—lies just outside Örebro, a midsized city in south-central Sweden. To Swedes, tonight is the eve of Midsummer, a summer solstice holiday with roots in ancient, pagan Europe that's now (at least officially and to the pious) also held to honour the birth of Christian figure John the Baptist.
Either way, it's one of the country's most celebrated events. But as is customary for many Swedish holidays, most of the activity happens on the eve of the actual event. For Midsummer's Eve 2020, no doubt many Swedes will opt for a more isolated, back-to-nature holiday as our image may encourage—but the usual festivities include bonfires, outdoor feasts of herring and potatoes, and dances around maypoles decorated with greenery and flowers.