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Work. Work. Work. So much painting, illustrating, writing and editing has taken place of the course of this past week! Thanks to Josh for watching Jonah in the Swedish wilderness so I can continue plugging away at creating this book!

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It’s been a joy watching them explore up in Saxnäs.

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We decided to get out of town and drive 8 hours south The the Heart of Sweden’s Midsummer capital, Mora!

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Eating dinner around the Maypole.

Here we celebrated the year’s longest day of the year.

What gets us through 8 hour drives and makes it tolerable for Jonah you ask?

We started by driving at his naptime, 3 hours later he cheerily woke up and we hit up Storsjobadet, Ostersund’s premier waterpark!

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Jonah has a blast in the pool of course.

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After tiring our little man out we jump back in the car for another 2 hour little man nap while Josh and I enjoy the drive and see moose and reindeer!

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We also see pink, royal purple and honey colored lupine for mike stretches at a time, it is pure candy to the eyes.

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Jonah awakes in Sveg, an hour from our destination where we enjoy a Swedish convenience store hotdog and the largest Wooden Bear Statue in the world… hey, somethings got to put you on the map right?

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We get into Mora late that night while we loudly cheered on USA in the car who was playing Sweden in the Women’s World Cup, Josh was an excellent interpreter of Swedish based on his recognition of soccer player names! 🙌
Mora is breathtaking.

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Surrounded by lakes and hills this is a place of beauty to celebrate Midsummer.
So what is Midsummer you ask? Well at the Norske museum we visited in Stockholm they state that it is several things. The old Norse myth believes that when the ice melted and the rivers flowed the water carried away disease and illness and was a cause to celebrate Summer.

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Another simple explanation is it’s celebrating Solstice, the longest day of the year in summer, where in Sweden the sun doesn’t set at all.

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Many say it’s the time when the first strawberries ripen, this is what Jonah, Josh and I discovered! We couldn’t eat enough!!

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In the morning of Midsummers eve you make wreaths to adorn on your head, you pick 7 different kinds and lay them under your pillow and you will find out the man that will marry you.

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Jonah helped make my wreath.

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He even wore it once, begrudgingly, well semi willingly, he is always a great sport!

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After a siesta everyone heads to the Maypole to raise it high with wreaths and flowers!
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Community members decorate it first.

It starts low.

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It takes many people to raise it the old fashioned way with wooden beams, you say ‘hey ho!’ Everytime it’s raised another bit,

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The whole raising process takes about 70 minutes.

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There are periods with a caller from four cardinal directions from the crowd, fiddlers, and singing!

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At the end everyone forms several circles and sing and dance around the pole with a mixture of traditional Sweden songs and Midsummers songs. I couldn’t stop smiling!

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Afterwards you have a barbecue fest and general debauchery takes place. For us that debauchery was Jonah jumping at the bouncy house.

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It was such a beautiful holiday full of Swedish tradition, we were happy to be part of it.

Until next time, May your strawberries be ripe, your flowers be diverse, and your maypole dancing be plenty! Happy Solstice!

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