Tonight is the summer solstice and on Friday Sweden celebrates Midsummer’s Eve, the most important national holiday after Christmas.
Thing is, when you live in the northern end of the world summer is treasured like nothing else. Most of the year is a black hole of darkness and cold and we only have a few short months (or weeks some years) of sunshine and warmth – so when summer finally arrives everyone goes stark, raving mad.
From birth it’s been drilled into our heads that summer is SHORT and you should CHERISH every second of it! I never see as many stressed out people as during the summer. Like those mayflies who only live for 24 hours and have to find a mate and breed before sun sets or else they’ll die without having fulfilled their life’s purpose. People get like that in the summer here…
More ice creams at the beach! More soccer games with friends! Of course we can’t stay at home tonight – what if this is the last sunny day? We must go outside! We have to take advantage of this! We must arrange a barbecue party with the neighbours or something! We must go swimming in the lake!
And if it rains people sit in their homes muttering “No no no… I don’t have time for this. We still haven’t had a picnic in the park. We still haven’t gone out to the farm to see the cows”.
Ok, I’m exaggerating – but it’s honestly not that far from the truth.
As someone who can’t stand heat and usually just pine away in the shadow all summer I find all that a bit tiring. I remember my mum getting slightly hysteric with me when I was a kid because I would rather stay inside and read a book than go outside.
I tried pointing out to her that I actually spend a lot of time outside during the rest of the year, and therefore I shouldn’t be required to go outside just because it’s warm and sunny. In fact, the warmth was the whole reason I wanted to stay inside! She didn’t get it at all.
As an adult I choose to spend most hot days indoors, waiting to go outside until late in the evening when it gets cooler (I’m practically nocturnal during the summer). But sometimes I can’t help but getting a little bit affected by society. Shouldn’t I go do something outside? In the sun? Shouldn’t I want to?
Oh well, at least it’s a short season.
Do people get crazy in the summer in other parts of the world too? I imagine in a place with longer summers/better weather in general (Italy? California?) people might be less panic-y about these things?