Midsummer in numbers
Did you know that the Thursday prior to Midsummer is the worst day to visit Systembolaget (the only retail store in Sweden allowed to sell alcoholic beverages that contain more than 3.5% alcohol)? And the grocery stores aren’t much better, you’re likely to find yourself in a swarm of other customers doing last-minute shopping.
Here’s a Swedish Midsummer in numbers:
(Thinking about setting up your own celebration? See more on the traditions: Svensk Midsommar' - the traditions, the table and a selection of recipes.)

Alcohol: More than every tenth Swede is expected to visit Systembolaget the Thursday before Midsummer, the day Systemet has the most customers during the entire year. Sales during the week before Midsummer is 47% higher than a normal week, counted in pure alcohol. The sales of spiced liquor (“kryddat brännvin”) is seven times higher before Midsummer, just slightly less than before Christmas. Swedes prefer to have OP Andersson Aquavit, Skåne, and Gammel Dansk in their schnapps glasses. However, beer sells more than any other alcohol, and the most popular brands are Sofiero Original, Mariestads Export, and Norrlands Guld.


Schnapps songs: The interest in schnapps songs increases around Midsummer. Last year, 8,700 schnapps song booklets were downloaded from Spritmuseum, which is 18 times more than during a normal week. Since every booklet contains 8 songs, that means 70,000 schnapps songs. The most popular? “Helan går”.

Food: Midsummer is one of Sweden’s greatest food holidays, and according to prognosis herring, strawberries, fresh potatoes, and grill meat will be sold to the tune of 5.9 billion SEK ($877 million), which is 700 million SEK ($104 million) more than during a normal week.

Herring: The most popular kind of herring for Midsummer is the Matjes herring, 80% of this type is consumed during Midsummer. In total 1,500 tons of herring is being served during Midsummer. Keep all of your food fresh: Six tips to keep food fresh

Potatoes: Potatoes are needed for the herring, and Midsummer Eve is the year’s biggest day for the potato. Normally, the daily potato consumption in Sweden is 1,000 ton, but when it is being served in the shade of the May pole, the intake increases with approximately 150%. When the first fresh potatoes were sold in April, you would have to spend 1,400 SEK ($208) a kilo, now you can get them for under 4 SEK (60 cents) per kilo.

Strawberries: 96% of all Swedes eat strawberries around this time of the year. Swedish strawberries are preferred even though, according to Livsmedelsverket (the National Food Agency), 97.5% of them had traces of pesticides in them in 2011-2012.

Traditional celebration: If you’re dying to do the “Små grodorna” dance on Midsummer, then a sure way to be able to do so is to find a “hembygdsförening”, an association that concerns itself with traditional and vernacular culture and local cultural heritage. These associations arrange traditional Midsommar celebrations in 800 places around Sweden, something that draws as many as 350,000 visitors.

Traffic: Expect traffic to be around 50% more today, and with more accidents. On an average 7 people die in traffic-related accidents during Midsummer, and around 300 get hurt, two thirds of whom are men. The most dangerous route is E20 between Göteborg and Laxå.