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Dancing, traditional dress and huge feasts spring up everywhere, and the local beer flows.View Midsummer Housing in Sweden In Finland, Midsummer is the most celebrated day of revelry in the calendar.During the period called polar days, the nights are short and light, while in the regions north of the arctic circle the sun does not set below the horizon at all for several weeks.In mid-June, school is out and nature has burst into life. In fact, in the north of Sweden it doesn’t, and in the south only for an hour or two. Friends and family gather for the most typically Swedish tradition of all: Midsummer.Sweden celebrates Midsummer's Eve and Midsummer's Day with gusto, on the Friday between 21st and 25th June.Swedish Midsummer festivals are lavish, steeped in folklore and great fun.

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The last time it did not fall on either of those dates was in 1975 when it was June 22. When the date of June 24 was set, the Julian calendar was in operation and was a few days out. Midsummer’s Day (June 24) is one of the four Quarter Days in the Legal calendar.Swedes are fairly well attuned to the rhythms of nature.At Midsummer, many begin their five-week annual holidays and everyone is in a hurry to get things done during the relatively short summer season.There is always a certain magic to Midsummer festivals, from the Midsummer Carnivals of Ireland to the revelries of the Finnish Midsummer, from the bonfires of French celebrations to the unique, mass festivities of the Swedish Midsummer, on what is probably the most important day in the Swedish calendar.Midsummer Eve means many things to many cultures, with origins known to date from pre-Christian history.Midsummer is celebrated on June 24th, but in Finland (in year 1955) and Sweden (in year 1953), the date was moved to fall on the first Saturday after June 19th, on the initiative of labour organizations.In picture above: Helsinki skyline from the sea at midnight around the summer solstice.The connection with the summer solstice is clearly recognisable though, and many European cultures now associate the event with the birth of John the Baptist.Even the date changes from culture to culture, but always around the 21st and 24th June, around the longest day of the year, and there is always a magical atmosphere if joy, excitement and optimism.Queues of cars stretch away into the distance, and at the end of the road, family and friends wait among silver birches in full, shimmering bloom.Midsummer is an occasion of large gatherings − and to be honest, many Swedes take advantage of it to fulfil their social obligations so that they can enjoy the rest of their holiday in peace.