Updated: May 10
Traditions and history behind the midsummer story
Midsommar (in the Norse context) is a modern summer tradition in Northern European countries. It happens in the middle of summer, around June 21-24 (the summer solstice). Activities include light-hearted entertainment, from dressing up with flower crowns to dancing to catchy folk songs around a midsommarstång (a leafy maypole).
Små Grodorna (Little Frogs) is a popular Swedish folk song that encourages children to participate in a competitive dance around a leafy pole. The music replays faster each repeat until one person is left dancing. Another variation is removing the competition and having everyone fall when the musician cues the song’s end.
This song has been translated and added to the book 'Midsommar Sòl'. In it, the last person dancing gets crowned Midsummer queen or king!
Wanting to tie in elements of ancient sun-worship and traditional summer games, the Norse goddess Sòl stars as the main character whose entire focus is giving everyone a well-deserved break from summer chores!
It really is a feel-good story for the whole family.
As far as its history, Midsommar evolved from pre-Christian traditions. Some scholars call the celebration barbaric because of the singing, dancing and frivolity they witnessed. By 1000 AD, the Old Kingdom of Norway learned to embrace these customs by giving them a name, date and milder songs and dances.
Although the pagan festival activities don’t have a date before Norse-Christian convergence, it has left a trail of evidence of sun-worship and sun-game traditions. Sun-worship traces back to the Iron Age (58-79 BC) with carvings of sun-worship, expressing joy and thanks to the sun for its life-giving power. Read more about the history of Midsommar here.
Over two years have gone into the making of this new book! 2020 was spent drowning in research papers trying to decipher and organize timelines; in 2021, I published a research article that simplified these efforts for easy understanding; and finally 2022, my newest children's book is available in English AND German!
Why the fuss?
The Northern European Midsommar Festival is a debate among Norse pagan circles. The demographic is separated by an argument of whether it is originally pagan or Christian.
My goal with the Pagan Kids books is to take the Swedish customs I grew up with, restore them to their pre-Christian form and include some ancient lore. This takes research, care and understanding.
Since March 2021, Midsommar Sòl became available to purchase on various online platforms and at small business in the US, UK and Canada. Find a list of vendors here.
Note: Kickstarter pre-orders are now closed.