June 22, 2014

Midsummer Celebrations

The entrance to Gültzauudden. 

This year, we decided to be all traditional on Midsummer Eve, and go to Gültzauudden (= the Gültzau promontory, or spit) and celebrate properly. We don´t do it every year, I have to say, and much of it is about me being in bed until three or four in the afternoon most days. But now I´m on vacation (hurrah!) and as I need to readjust to dayliving, it seemed like a good idea to go. Mum-in-law is in a good shape and joined us. 

The wooded promontory has been a place for hanging out and having a good time since Luleå was established in this location in the 17th century. You can see ruins of a burned down dance palace, and there used to be a skijumping stadium here a hundred years ago. Now there is a beach, and a café situated in a building that is a copy of the old town hall, which stood not far from here. Between 1693 and 1861 a house just like this one was the seat of the mayor, the court, over-night accomodation for the county governor, the fire brigade, the jail, tax storage (some taxes were delivered in kind), and a tavern. It would barely house one family these days, we are so spoilt for space. Of course, in those days they didn´t have plumbing, no bathrooms or toilets, barebone-kitchens, and so on. What they did have was firewood storage, and I bet it cost a pretty penny to heat the place. 

There were lots of people, in spite of the weather. A cold wind was coming in from the north, bone-chilling, but no rain. This did not seem to put a damper on anyone´s mood, everyone was incredibly jolly, actually. The local folklore society ran the show, and had already done a version of it earlier that day at the folklore museum Hägnan, in Gammelstad. They were amazing, I thought. They must really enjoy what they do. 

We have been a few times before (more than ten years ago) and I can not remember it being so well organized , or so well-attended. I think perhaps our immigrants have something to do with that, they have re-vitalized the interest in folklore, which have been waning since the 70´s, when everyone was into sewing their own folk costume and polka dancing. Even I, as a ten-year-old, went to a schottische course. 

There was a fishpond/grab bag stand for the kids, music from the stage, a speech by the Council president, the children were "maying" the pole, which was then paraded and erected. The folklore specialists led the dance from a small circle around the pole, and so many joined in. After that, there was a dance show, and again, the audience was invited to join in, which they did, enthusiastically. 

We then took a short walk to the car and went home to enjoy our dinner of pickled herring. I lost control of my snapping finger and took 392 photos! Too much, really, but it was such fun. 

During the Council President´s speech.

The Little Frog Dance

So many little girls were dressed as princesses. Don´t remember that from when I was a kid. 

Doesn´t it look like he is jiujitsuing her? I love his style, he looks like Santa´s overseer. 

Some really lovely wooded promenades.


  1. I love your photos! It all looks like great fun to have a community celebration for this.

    We ended up staying home, as weather here was overcast/rainy and we wouldn't have been able to see the sunset anyway.

    1. Thank you! We had no sunset either, it was cloudy and started to rain. We are hoping for some summer in July.