Binding of crowns for the maypole

There is a maypole in almost every village in the whole of Åland. The richly leafed and decorated midsummer pole, or maypole is typical of midsummer in the Åland Islands and an old symbol of fertility and greenery.

All villages have their own traditions around the celebration and the appearance of the midsummer pole – no pole is exactly the same as the other.

There are many interpretations of the symbolism behind the various details of the midsummer pole: the weather, shipping, agriculture, fishing or a desire to create a finer midsummer pole than the one in the neighboring village.

Crowns are found on the poles on mainland Åland. They are the most eye-catching ornaments of the midsummer poles and are related to the Christmas crown of straw. The production is time-consuming, and the crowns are made no later than a few weeks before Midsummer’s Eve. Traditionally, it is the women who bind them. Previously, the crowns were bound around a frame of reeds, but now steel wire is often used. Paper is bound around the frame in different colours, usually Åland, blue, yellow and red.

At SLOYD FEST you get to see women from Torp village team in Hammarland make the crowns. They are on-site both days and are happy to tell you more about the tradition with the midsummer crowns.