Summer Rain and Square Dance in Mariestad Sweden

Scandinavian weather is usually sunny and warm in the summer, especially in the southern part. Both in the capital’s areas – Oslo in Norway and Stockholm in Sweden (at the latitude of 60º) – the mid temperature in June/July is around 20 -25C (68 – 77F). It varies a lot though; some weeks ago we had a long period with 30C or more, but recently we’ve had more like 15C, occasionally 20C or more when the sun is out.

We are now in our vacation home in Mariestad, Sweden and regardless of the rain we are in a summer mood. It’s a charming little town (about 30 000 inhabitants) and very lively with a lot of tourists this time of year – the guest harbour is full and so are the inns and hotels. However, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, when we went for a walk the streets were relatively quiet. I had my Nokia mobile phone at hand of course, and tried to capture the atmosphere. It’s up to you to decide if I succeeded:

In the city centre; The Town Square:

Rainy day in Mariestad #1
Nice and quiet with just some umbrellas.

Rainy day in Mariestad #2
Only one stands where you could buy strawberries.

Rainy day in Mariestad #3
The raised flowerbed beside the square. Notice the person shooting pics under the umbrella – do you recognize her?

Rainy day in Mariestad #4
A sculpture with the town square in the background. Even they had an umbrella :-) There is actually quite a lot of interesting sculptures in this town – I’ll take you on a guided tour showing you later.

So where was everybody? Well some were in their boats, some in their tents or cabins at the camp ground and of course some inside their homes. However, we heard some music in the direction of the town park and guess what we found there:

Mariestad Square Dance Festival:
Some might be familiar with this, but let me give you a resume: An folk dance with four couples (eight dancers) arranged in a square, with one couple on each side:
Square Dance in Mariestad Sweden #1

The various square dance movements are based on the steps and figures used in traditional folk dances and social dances of the various people who migrated to the USA. Some of these traditional dances include Morris dance, English Country Dance, Caledonians and the quadrille. Square dancing is enjoyed by people around the world, and people around the world are involved in the continuing development of this dance.

Square Dance in Mariestad Sweden #2

The dancers are prompted or cued through a sequence of steps (square dance choreography) by a caller to the beat of music, who leads, but usually does not participate in the dance. In the picture above you see the caller on the stage at the left to the Swedish flag.

I’ve actually never seen this dance in practice live before. I think it’s more popular in Sweden compared with Norway where we are much more into our traditional folk dance (which of course is very similar). What really caught my eye however was that they started quite young in Sweden. Take a closer look at this photo:

Square Dance in Mariestad Sweden #3
To the right; A baby with yellow ear protectors dancing on it’s moms stomach :-)

Mariestad badminton Open:
Well, I might be exaggerating a bit with that title, but when we came home, the rain had just stopped and outside our house we found these guys deadly serious in their competition:
Badminton in Mariestad

So even if it was rainy and we’ve had quite a lot of them lately, we had an adventurous day, thanks to this charming city and our summer mood. I hope you enjoyed our guided tour. My regular readers know there will be more since we are on vacation – so stay tuned!