Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Alec Bentson was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1997. Almost one year prior to the interview date, he had returned home from serving the Sweden, Stockholm mission. Much of Alec’s lineage has Swedish roots, but his family didn’t celebrate Swedish traditions in their home. Alec plans to continue celebrating the customs he learned in his time in Sweden and will be minoring in Scandinavian Studies at BYU in Provo, Utah.
Sweden’s Midsummer is one of Sweden’s oldest traditions and represents hopefulness for good weather in the summer and fertility. It is one of the largest celebrations in Sweden; people typically take work off to participate in the festivities, which usually takes place over the entire weekend.
So, this was probably my favorite Swedish thing I’d experienced while living there. They have a huge festival, and there’s lots of fish, and lots of flowers. They have this giant pole erected in the middle of the festival, called the “Midsommarstången.” I guess it’s supposed to be a giant penis, at least that’s what some of the Swedes told us and I doubt that they’d be that explicit unless it was true because we were missionaries, you know? What else…? Oh, everyone wears flower crowns, eats herring, and sings this song about frogs, the English translation is basically “frogs have no legs, frogs have no ears.” It was a lot of fun. The date changes every year, depending on when solstice is.
This conversation took place in person when we were both parked in front of my driveway. Alec and I were dating at the time and have spoken about his time in Sweden frequently. He spoke in an equally excited and nostalgic tone. I could tell that he deeply missed living in Sweden as he expressed that he’d like to return as soon as possible. Though, not for the pickled herring, I’m sure.
Semester and year
Rivera, Josephine, "Swedish Midsummer" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 317.