There are many traditions about Midsummer that still live here in Sweden. A wreath or a bouquet with seven or nine (the traditions vary) different flowers is powerful if you pick them all alone and speak to no one. If you dare pick one flower from the churchyard, the power increases even more... If a girl puts the flowers under her pillow, it is said that she'll dream of her future husband that night... You may also hang the wreath in the ceiling and your house will stay happy and healthy. A pair of young birches by the front door also bring happiness into the house.
Flowers are an important feature at Midsummer. Many girls and women wear wreaths in their hair, and most people like to dress up in pretty and summery clothes. The May pole ('midsommarstång' or 'majstång') doesn't look the same in different parts of the country, but it's usually decorated with leaves and flowers. In some areas, it's custom to gather the day before Midsummer Eve and prepare the May pole together, and have a little party.
IN THE FOLK DRESS JUNGLE ?
Link to Main-page.
In english they are usually called folk costumes but also national costumes, folkdance costumes and even folkdress.
But those interested in the 'Folkdress' of Sweden are confronted by a number of confusing terms for what appears to be the same thing. In Sweden, Folk dress is varyingly referred to as "FOLKDRÄKT", "LANDSKAPSDRÄKT", "SOCKENDRÄKT", "BYGDE- or HEMBYGDS-DRÄKT", "HÄRADS-DRÄKT", (Folkdress' - National Costume - Provincial Costume - Parish Costume - District or Homedistrict Costume - the Costume of a 'Härad', an old jurisdictional 'county') or sometimes even as "FOLKDANSKOSTYMER" (Folkdance costumes).
"A DEAR CHILD HAS MANY NAMES" as the Swedish proverb says.
But what exactly is the difference between all these terms ? The Swedish Museums have decided that the term "FOLKDRÄKT" can only be used for costumes from areas with a well documented, locally distinctive form...