Sofias Country Gardens
Thursday before midsummer eve we always go to the Raseborg ruins to tie the midsummer Maypole. It entails a whole evening of work, so I always lure friends from the city to help out and generally they enjoy helping out and keeping countryside traditions alive.
First young birches are cut and from them little whips of birch branches are made. These are then tied in lines onto the thin metal rings that make the hoops of the Maypole. It takes a few hours to do these, as there are three big hoops that all have four little ones each attached to them. Thereafter a very long rope is decorated in the same way and entwined around the pole all the way from top to bottom, and lastly the flag and ribbons are added.
The next day, on midsummer Friday between 15 - 17 in the afternoon, there is a village fete on the big lawn infront of the ruins. We have coffee and buns, sausage and waffles, a lottery, a magician and "fishing" for the kids.
At five o'clock the Maypole is raised, which is no mean feat as it weighs quite a lot! The way it is done is by using long poles to support it and push it upwards at the top while at the same time pulling from two ropes attached two-thirds up the pole. (If you look carefully at the picture to the left you can just about see the rope in the right-hand lower corner.)
After this the evenings celebration can begin, and we all go home to eat traditional midsummer food like new potatoes, cured and smoked salmon, herring pickled in assorted ways and grilled meat for main course.