That is pronounced “Mid-summers’dahg.”
It is what the Norwegians celebrate on the eve of the summer solstice.
I got in on this celebration as a 20 year old college student in 1958 when I was on a choir tour of Norway for a month.
The evening was such a good one….the people of Norway build huge bonfires and have all night picnics and their “hot dogs” are to die for….they are so much better than anything I have ever tasted in the USA…..I can still remember them and the little delicious rolls and the exceptional mustard!!!
My roommate and I were staying with a family in Stavanger, Norway on June 20 and 21 and the family had friends over to their house for the all night party.
One of the guests was a doctor and I needed one that time. I had come down with such a horrible cold with sinus infection (from sleeping in damp sheets on a cold night at a very elderly lady’s house in Haugesund the week before) Not that the damp sheets made me sick but they surely took my immune system down. I had missed the Bergen and the Stavanger concerts due to my bad upper respiratory infection.
The doctor gave me some helpful meds that were probably antibiotics for the sinus infection. I struggled with it for another ten days and traveling every day was not conducive to getting well again.
We also had been to a long afternoon banquet in Stavanger on June 21 where we all were given small “sweet potatoes” to blow on…they were made of red clay that was glazed and were on red white an blue ribbons to hang around our necks.
They played like a Kazoo and we made a lot of strange music in the banquet hall but redeemed ourselves by singing a few of our concert songs for the assembled crowd of our hosts and town officials.
The banquets in the towns we visited were spetacular events…..they began about 2 p.m. and were called the “Middag” meal….a huge dinner at Midday. There were several courses and we always had very fine roast meats along with vegetables and boiled potatoes. Customs may have changed by now but at that time the big meal was at 2 p.m. I also rememember fantastic ice cream cakes which looked like wedding cakes with multiple layers…they were so delicious. In the evenings the Norse people ate a light supper called “smor-bro” I cannot put in the grammatical markings but you say “smuh-bruh” and it meant “buttered bread” but the bread had fantastic toppings….they were one- slice sandwiches with meats, cheese, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and boiled eggs and even sliced fruits like oranges on the top of the bread slices and the breads were wonderful by themselves….whole grain usually. My favorite was rye bread topped with cucumber, tomato and boiled egg. I still make them to eat now!
We looked forward to the “smor-bro” each day. I have a butter dish that says “smor” on it and of course I put butter on the little dish.
I learned to love a soda drink called
“solo” pronounced “sulu”. It was an orange-lemon soda pop the likes of which I have never tasted again….. Another memorable thing from 1958 Norway.
It is a beatiful Midsummers’ Day today; I wish I could still go on an all-night picnic with those delicious hot dogs I recall—- but now I am not 20 years old and I cannot stand to stay up all night!!!
In northern Norway tonight and for some nights to come, the sun will NOT set at all….it is like twilight all night halfway up the Norwegian landscape at Trondheim–one of the areas where some of my ancestors on the Mom’s side lived before they emigrated to Rollag, Minnesota where a huge number of emigrants made a new village and surrounding farms.
I remember not going to sleep easily when it was so light all night.
It is the best of days…more light and sunshine than any other day of the year.
It is my favorite day.
I am a true Northern European descendant…I do not like the Winter Solstice and its oppressively dark days at all. We Northerners love the day long sun that never sets!!!!
The downside of Midsomkers Dag is Dec 21 when northern Norway is in darkness every day for 24 hours til late January…then the sun barely rises for only afew hours. ARGHH….I could not take that time of year.
It is in our genes and our blood I think.