Jumping like frogs

July 19, 2009 at 10:07 Leave a comment

preparing the birch flame tower

preparing the birch flame tower

June 19 – Gotland – Midsummer, i think, is the best time of year to be Swedish.  The air is warm, the flowers are starting to bloom, days are long, and strawberries are turning red.  To celebrate this longest day, Swedes gather together and celebrate around a midsummer pole.  A lot of time goes into hanging and decorating the pole, which is an ancient symbol of fertility and good harvests.  We set ours up near the future site of the ecovillage houses, and had about 40 people come to celebrate.  Food was abundant, and we all got plenty of chances to dance like frogs.

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Anchoring and decorating the midsummer pole

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Some of our dance party

The most traditional song to sing at midsummer is called Små Grodorna (Small Frogs), and the dance moves involve hopping and springing and bouncing around.  Very fun to see typically reserved Swedes break out and dance like little kids through a field!

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Gotland’s favorite game is an ancient one called Kubb, where two teams take turns trying to knock over each other’s tokens, and then eventually hit the king in the center of the field.

DSCF1652And to add some ambiance, our handyman Tom made two birchwood lanterns by chainsawing a cross about 1 meter down through a log.  You can then drop an ember into the middle and it will be held there and burn slowly all night (in theory). These two took quite a smokey while to get going, but they eventually lit up.

With stone-oven-baked sourdough bread, strawberries, stirfries, and herring, we celebrated in true Swedish fashion as we got ready to depart from Gotland towards our next adventure.

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