The song of the midsummer party is ‘Små grodorna’, a sing-along about little frogs. I learned the lyrics from some older Swedish couples when I travelled with Inlandsbanan in the days before midsummer. It was a memorable moment. They went crazy and soon we were all jumping down the aisle of the train like frogs! There is no footage of it. Somehow that is a shame, but at the same time that moment is so printed in my memory that I will never forget it. What an experience!
Once in Mora I attended the midsummer festival in a small hamlet. Together with the locals I watched how the maypole was raised after which we all danced and sang around it. It was a wonderful day!
If you ever get the chance to celebrate midsummer in Sweden, I would say: definitely do it! Put up your flower crown . If you don’t know the text of the little frogs song and the accompanying dance, don’t worry, you’ll pick it up soon. If you want to practice at home, you will find the text below. All together at full throttle?
The text of Små grodorna
The song about the frogs is simple and doesn’t really make any sense. Yet it belongs to the collective memory of the Swedes. Are you singing along?
Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se. (2x)
Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de. (2x)
Origin Små grodorna
The melody of Små grodorna comes from the chorus of a military march from the French Revolution, “La Chanson de l’Oignon”. The original text sounded: “Au pas, camarade, au pas camarade / au pas, au pas, au pas!”.
The English, enemies of the French at that time, changed the text with condescending irony to “Au pas, grenouilles!”. The melody is still used in a French nursery rhyme with the original lyrics “Au pas camarades”, and is also used on military occasions. However, it is not yet known how the melody eventually ended up in Sweden, but the Swedish lyrics are clearly inspired by the English version.