Miðsumar

Le Miðsumar ou Midsummer est la fête du milieu de l'été et il y a très peu de sources qui atteste cette célébration en Scandinavie pendant l'âge des vikings. Elle n'est pas mentionnée dans les trois fêtes majeures qu'évoque Snorri Sturlusson, néanmoins elle est belle est bien mentionnée dans la Heimskringla.

 

Saga d'Olaf Tryggvasson, chapitre 72 : Þing í Þrándheimi

« Ólafr konungr dró þá saman lið mikit austan or landi um sumarit ok hélt liði því norðr til Þrándheims, ok lagði fyrst inn til Niðaróss. Síðan lét hann fara þingboð um allan fjörðinn ok stefndi 8 fylkna þing á Frostu. En bœndr sneru þingboði í herör ok stefndu saman þegn ok þræl um allan Þrándheim. En er konungr kom til þings, þá var kominn bóndamúgrinn með alvæpni. En er þing var sett, þá talaði konungr fyrir lýðnum ok bauð þeim at taka við kristni. En er hann hafði litla hríð talat, þá kölluðu bœndr ok báðu hann þegja, segja at ella mundu þeir veita honum atgöngu ok reka hann í brott. Gerðu vér svá, sögðu þeir, við Hákon Aðalsteinsfóstra, þá er hann bauð oss þvílík boð, ok virðu vér þik eigi meira en hann. En er Ólafr konungr sá œði bóndanna, ok þat með at þeir höfðu her svá mikinn, at ekki mátti við standa, þá veik hann rœðunni ok sneri til samþykkis við bœndr; sagði svá: Ek vil, at vér gerim sætt vára, svá sem vér höfum áðr lagt með oss; vil ek fara þar til, er þér hafit hit mesta blót yðart ok sjá þar siðu yðra, tökum þá ráð várt um siðu, hverja vér viljum hafa, ok samþykkjum þá þat allir. En er konungr talaði linliga til bónda, þá mýktust hugir þeirra, ok fór síðan alt talit líkliga ok sáttgjarnliga, ok var þat ráðit at lyktum, at vera skyldi miðsumars blót inn á Mærinni, ok skyldu þar til koma allir höfðingjar ok ríkir bœndr, svá sem siðr var til; þar skyldi ok koma Ólafr konungr. »

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Voici une traduction anglaise de Douglas B. Killings et David Widger. Suite à un détail important que l'on m'a fait remarquer, j'ai choisi de ne pas tenir compte de la traduction française de F.X Dillmann car ce dernier a décidé de ne pas mentionner le Midsummer dans sa traduction (alors que le mot apparaît bien dans la version originale) et passe ainsi à coté d'une source importante mentionnant la fête du milieu de l'été. 

The thing in Throndhjem

« King Olaf collected a great army in the east of the country towards summer, and sailed with it north to Nidaros in the Throndhjem country. From thence he sent a message-token over all the fjord, calling the people of eight different districts to a Thing; but the bondes changed the Thing-token into a war-token; and called together all men, free and unfree, in all the Throndhjem land. Now when the king met the Thing, the whole people came fully armed. After the Thing was seated, the king spoke, and invited them to adopt Christianity; but he had only spoken a short time when the bondes called out to him to be silent, or they would attack him and drive him away. "We did so," said they, "with Hakon foster-son of Athelstan, when he brought us the same message, and we held him in quite as much respect as we hold thee." When King Olaf saw how incensed the bondes were, and that they had such a war force that he could make no resistance, he turned his speech as if he would give way to the bondes, and said, "I wish only to be in a good understanding with you as of old; and I will come to where ye hold your greatest sacrifice-festival, and see your customs, and thereafter we shall consider which to hold by." And in this all agreed; and as the king spoke mildly and friendly with the bondes, their answer was appeased, and their conference with the king went off peacefully. At the close of it a midsummer sacrifice was fixed to take place in Maeren, and all chiefs and great bondes to attend it as usual. The king was to be at it. »


Le Midsummer était peut-être une fête locale. Dans la saga d'Olaf Tryggvasson, lorsque ce dernier ce rend sur les lieux du sacrifice, il y a des représentations de Thor. Cela indique que ce dieu pouvait être honoré lors de cette fête. Pour la date exacte, difficile de donner des affirmations. De nos jours la fête est célébrée autour du 24 juin pour le solstice d'été et semble avoir été remplacée dans le folklore par la fête de la Saint-Jean (que nous verrons plus loin). Néanmoins, si l'on s'en tient au nom de la fête « le milieu de l'été » cela correspond plutôt au 14 juillet. Il est également probable que, comme les autres fêtes, la date était liée au calendrier lunaire. Peut-être avait-elle lieu lors de la pleine lune qui suivait le solstice d'été..

Autre possibilité, dans l'ancien calendrier islandais, il y a quatre jours supplémentaires qui tombent au milieu de l'été. Peut-être que ces quatre jours étaient l'occasion de célébrer le milieu de l'été.