If you are Swedish you know why Zooma is closed tomorrow, June 23 and opens again on Monday, June 26. If you are not, it’s because of Midsummer.
And, maybe you don’t know why Swedes seemingly make fools out of themselves jumping ’round that pole while singing about frogs? Well, neither do most of us Swedes. We just sing, jump and feel embarrassed—blissfully unaware of that the Frenchmen and Brits actually are to blame.
‘Le chant de l’oignon’ (The Onion song) was originally a military march. It’s a celebration of the delicious onion, and it was often sung by the French soldiers during the Napoleonic wars. Yes, but why frogs? Well, imagine how the British soldiers ironically changed the refrain ‘Au pas camarade!’ (March in step, comrade!) to ’Au pas grenouilles!’ (March in step, frogs!)…
Napoleon met his Waterloo and the French song—now with the British lyrics—for some reason found its way to Sweden and became a core piece of the Swedish folk tradition. Today, visiting Frenchmen and Brits think Swedes are completely unintelligible—at least at Midsummer. Yes, we are!