One of the things I love about being in Scotland is that there are people from so many more countries than I would get to experience back home. One of those countries happens to be Sweden, and if you know anything about Sweden, you’ll know that Midsummer celebrations for the longest day of the year are a big deal.
Or at least, that’s the impression I get, both from two Swedish Scottish Country dancers hosting a Midsummer for friends and from the website dedicated to the festival.
I recommend watching the video from that website, as it includes more than I was a part of, but we did three things in our Midsummer celebration: games, food, and drink.
According to the Swedes, they usually play seven games all in a row, but we only played three: Kubb, a quiz, and Pen in the Bottle.
Kubb is one of my favorite games. I used to play it in middle school when we had game rooms for the morning or afternoon and it was sunny enough to go outside. Basically, you throw sticks at other sticks to knock them over, and the last stick you knock over is the king stick. Here’s more:
(The people in that video are much better than us.) The only difference is that we played that to knock the king over, you have to face away from it and throw the baton between yours legs. I wasn’t very good at that.
Next up: The quiz. They put 8 questions about Sweden onto objects around the park, which we answered in teams of three. They were multiple choice, and for some reason the answers were listed as 1, X, and 2 instead of 1, 2, and 3. The explanation was that that’s just how they did it. Both teams only got two of the 8 right, and so a tie breaker question was the word for crayfish. My team got it, so we won despite knowing unfortunately little about Sweden.
The third game was Pen in the Bottle, and those of us that never experienced it were told nothing about it before we started. Luckily, there’s a video for that, too.
We did not try it tag-team. I managed to win my round, which was made all the funnier by the fact that my opponent started playing Ginuwine’s “My Pony” (the Magic Mike song) on his phone before we began.
We went to the pub for food and drinks after that, and we all agreed that next time we should go to the pub before doing the games so that we’re all sufficiently, traditionally buzzing for the duration of the games.
After the pub, a group went back to the Swedes’ place for continued drinking into the night, but I went home to get some sleep.
And that’s the story of my first ever Midsummer. I’m extremely grateful that I was able to experience it. Maybe one day I’ll make it to Sweden.
Your Bonnie Celtophile,