Last week members of Ledbury Strömstad Twinning Association travelled to Strömstad to join with the Swedish Midsommar Celebrations.

Midsommar is a big celebration in Sweden, heralding the arrival of summer, with community events being held in Towns and cities as well as family and friends holding individual celebrations.

The successful midsummer never-ending lunch party formula involves flowers in your hair, dancing around a pole, singing songs while drinking schnapps.

They stayed at the home of Nina and Bosse Markendahl, musicians, who have been to Ledbury many times, most recently to perform ‘Piaf with Friends’ a music collaboration with The Ledbury Singers, in April.

The day started early with the men collecting branches and greenery to make the Swedish Pole and the ladies went to collect wild flowers, at Blomsholm, an ancient burial ground with the Stone Ship, to decorate the Pole and make flower crowns.

The making, decorating and erecting of the Pole (Midsommarstången) was accompanied by music and song and was a really joyful atmosphere.

Having erected a decorated pole, the dancing began with a number of traditional songs and dances including the ‘Små Grodorna’ ‘Little Frogs’ and many others, visitors from Ledbury also taught their hosts traditional English Polkas.

This was followed by a wonderful Smorgasbord, fresh potatoes, herring (Sill),shrimps, salmon, Västerbottenpaj (cheese pie) cheeses, breads, crackers and classic strawberry cake ‘jordgubbstårta’ accompanied by Aquavit or ‘schnaps’ a taste of real Swedish summer.

Jill Jupp, of the Twinning Association said: “Everyone contributed to the party bringing a different dish. A number of those attending had been involved in the Twinning friendship with Strömstad since the inception, over 20 years ago.”

The Smorgasbord was followed by drinking songs such as ‘Helan går’ meaning the whole goes down together with Aquavit or ‘snaps’.

Fun party games followed and the celebrations continued to the early hours.

Jill said: “It was a real privilege and a joy to be part of this celebration, sharing of culture and tradition being part of the ethos of our Twinning Friendship.