Sunday, June 26, 2011

In the summer time

June, by and large, has been a horrid month in London, weather-wise at least. Despite it being the first month of summer there has been little sign of the blue skies and warm days that mark the season back home. So it came as no surprise to me when I looked outside on Saturday morning to see gloomy rain clouds looking back. Nevertheless I put on a summer dress and headed in to Hyde Park to celebrate the longest day of the year. And lo and behold, mere hours later London provided a minor miracle: Swedish  Midsummer marked the nicest summer day yet.

Midsummer not really being a big thing (or a thing at all) where I come from I had no idea what to expect. Turns out, in Sweden the mark the eternal sunshine by eating and drinking for as many hours as humanly possible. Presumably in Sweden this is for the full 24 hours, given the lack of night. 

Along with the incredible amounts of Swedish food and decidedly less Swedish drinks (mostly Pimms - possibly the most British of all alcohols) came flower garlands, children in traditional dress and - my favourite part of the day - dancing around the Maypole.

 By happy coincidence we shared the park with legions of Bon Jovi fans that evening, and as darkness finally began to fall hundreds of Midsummer celebrants were serenaded with thousands of die hard fans singing along to "Living On A Prayer".
If nothing else the contrast between the age-old Swedish festival and the more contemporary strains of 80's rock reminded me what an incredible place London is. Cultures that have almost nothing in common collide on an almost daily basis, and being caught in the middle is nothing if not unforgettable. Not to mention that living in such a culturally diverse city facilitates experiences that for me would be otherwise out of reach. I think an exchange I had with my Swedish friend Tess summed it up best.
Tess: When will you ever have the chance to celebrate Midsummer with Swedes again?
Me: Possibly next year?
Tess: Well that's another whole year away. Have another drink!

Glad Midsommer!

No comments:

Post a Comment