PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- The third Friday of June is a national holiday in Sweden. Called Midsummer's Eve (or "Midsommarafton" in the native tongue), it's bigger than Christmas to most Swedes, and it signifies the arrival of the brightest part of the year. A typical Midsummer's Eve celebration doesn't involve gift giving, but plenty of food (generally pickled herring, meatballs and potatoes), drink (shots of "brannvin," a high-alcohol liqueur whose flavor can most accurately be compared to gasoline, are downed during dinner), song (all Midsummer's Eve dinners are interrupted by communal singing of planned drinking songs at least every 10 minutes) and dance. The dancing is the most significant portion of the program.
*A big part of the fun of Midsummer's Eve is building the traditional maypole that everybody dances around during the evening. The dancing is anything but random, and most Swedes have the Midsummer songs and dances ingrained in their DNA from a very early age. One of the most surprising traditional numbers is called "Sma grodorna" (or "The little frogs"), and to an untrained eye, it causes participants to act in a way that might seem completely bizarre. The chorus part of "Sma grodorna" involves jumping around on all fours like a frog around the pole while singing about frogs' lack of ears and tails.
The Swedish-player contingent at the LPGA Championship is getting together for a Misummer's Eve party at Louise Friberg's house tonight. I don't know if there will be a maypole present, but if there is, you can be sure the players at some point will be jumping around like frogs. Now that would make for great TV.