Swedish Midsummer traditions are thought to have their roots in pre-Christian, sun-worshipping cultures.
The time of year around the summer solstice, when the darkness of night is replaced by a magical twilight, would have held special significance for people in northern climes.
The date is – as the name implies – a celebration of the middle of summer.
However, not so commonly known is that the date is also called the Celtic Fire Festival, when people mark the shortening of days.
Despite later attempts by the church to transform Midsummer into an entirely Christian festival, it’s the pagan symbols that have stood the test of time.
Women and young children still put wild flowers in their hair, and communities across the country still decorate phallic have very little to do with Midsummer, but nobody seems too worried.
The height reach by the most athletic jumper was traditionally seen as the height of that year’s harvest.
The classic lunch is eaten around a table stacked with boiled potatoes, different types of pickled herring, crispbread and salads, though these days just about anything goes.
In 1952 the Swedish Parliament decided that Midsummer should always be celebrated on a weekend.
As a result, the observance of Midsummer now varies between June 20 and 26.
Midsummer 2016 is this Friday and is marked with a series of traditions and customs that can be traced back thousands of years.
Midsummer has a few different names including John’s Day, Saint John’s Festival, Rasos (Dew Holiday) and Kupole.