Swedish summer

Summer has begun in earnest. It was a little difficult to notice last Friday, the first official day of summer, since it was rainy and cold and overcast. Hanna and Samuel had been off at a school camp overnight, up in the hills of Kilsbergen, just west of Örebro. It had rained on and off the whole time they were away, and they came home dirty and tired but full of stories and smiles. Unlike Hanna’s usual reaction to grey weather and rain, there was not a complaint to be heard, even though the temperature must not have climbed above 15 the whole time.

But on Saturday, the second day of summer, the sun appeared and it has continued to turn up every morning since. In Australia this is not exactly noteworthy, but in Sweden a week of warm sunny days is practically a heatwave. Another week and everyone will remember global warming.

Yesterday was a holiday – Swedish national day – which is a day of flags and nothing much else. We heard that there was some kind of program at our local park, and something else was happening down town at the castle. But we just went to a local swimming hole down near the river and wasted a few hours getting sunburnt before Maria had to go off to work, poor thing, at 2 o’clock. We hadn’t really thought about taking sunscreen. Its one of those things we used to take with us everywhere, but nowadays it has somehow been pushed to the back of the bathroom cupboard, forgotten. Hanna was puzzled when she got out of the bath last night. “My back feels hot, like its burning or something… what could that be?”

What do Swedes celebrate on the 6th June? Read the article from The Local if you would like some insight into this aspect of Swedish identity. For most people it is just a day off. The evening before there was an “international fest” at the kids’ school, where there was the traditional dancing and a maypole and stuff. But that is really midsummer stuff, and midsummer is still a fortnight away. So I’m not sure why that was happening just then. There is just a feeling around now that we should be celebrating.

I put it down to the sun…

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