Outside Sapporo there is place called Sweden Hills, and they celebrate some Swedish holidays there. Usually not on the actual day of the holiday, but still.
|This newly wed couple had a wedding ceremony in front of everyone at the midsummer festival.|
One of the things they celebrate is Swedish midsummer. This is one of the biggest events during the year in Sweden (possibly second after Christmas, which is number one). Usually you go to a nearby park where there is a May Pole, sit on a blanked and have a picknick, dance around the May pole, and get drunk. This is if the weather is good. If the weather is bad, which is common, you do not do much except complain about the weather and get drunk.
|Musicians from Sweden|
|Someone gave me a wreath of flowers|
Swedish midsummer also usually means eating strawberries. Other things that are midsummer food are fresh potatoes (on a good/warm year the first potatoes become available around midsummer in Sweden) and pickle herring.
|Raising the May pole by hand|
People dancing traditional midsummer dances around the May pole often wear wreaths of flowers on their heads. The dancing is often accompanied by live music from folk music groups.
At Sweden Hills they have people playing Swedish midsummer songs, and they are very good. They also ask some folk dancing group from Sapporo to come and lead the dancing around the May pole. Many people wear Swedish traditional dresses. As I lived in Stockholm, I only know one person in Sweden who owns such clothes. To me it is always a bit weird to see 70 people, all Japanese, wearing such clothes. I had never seen more than three people in such clothes at the same time before I came to Japan.
|Japanese player of the keyed fiddle, in traditional Swedish garb|
Some Swedes I met in Sweden Hills were surprised by my experiences, though. Where they live (in the countryside in northern Sweden) pretty much everyone has such clothes, and they wear them at midsummer. Sweden Hills has a sister city in northern Sweden, so I guess they think that most people in Sweden behave like the people in that place do.
The dancing around the May pole is fairly Swedish, but they use mainly songs and dances that I never hear when I was a kid (which is when you attend the dancing in Sweden). They also never do the most popular dances, like the one with the frogs. This year, there were lots of Swedish exchange students visiting the midsummer festival, and after the dancing was over, they went over to the musicians and asked them if they could play the frog song. Then they danced this dance too, before leaving. It is not really midsummer without that song, and luckily the musicians knew the tune.
|A guy I know|
There was also a clown entertaining people at the festival. It turned out to be a guy I know. It was the first time I saw him perform. He was really good, of course. I was impressed by how he can communicate without using any words at all. I have a hard time communicating even when using words, haha.
|My Scandinavian plate|
I also bought a plate with "Swedish meatballs". These looked like Swedish meatballs and the taste was very nice. The taste was not the taste of Swedish meatballs, but still good.
|Not very Scandinavian food|