"What would a Midsummer without herring be?"
Translation:Vad vore en midsommar utan sill?
I totally agree. I'd write "What would Midsummer be without herring?"
No, you are right in that we don't put "a" before a holiday. For generic celebrations you do - eg "What would a birthday be without cake" or "What would a wedding be without champagne" but one would write "What would Christmas be without tinsel" or "What would Easter be without Hot Cross Buns".
I actually missed that there was an "a" in that sentence. Living as I do in Sweden, I get used to Swedes speaking their not always correct English and I've started to not react to minor grammatical errors anymore.
I'm not too fond of this sentence at all - mainly because the vad vore en construction is a fairly uncommon idiom that takes the en, even though we, too, typically just say midsommar in the indefinite.
Don't get me wrong - it's a good idiom to know. But this is hardly the right place to teach it, nor the right way. I don't think we'll keep this sentence for the next tree.
"we, too, typically just say midsommar in the indefinite"
Aha! This makes me happy! I prefer Swedish and English to line up nicely with each other, lol! Seriously, it's good to know.
The more I know, the more I want to know. I am finding this "game" so rewarding! Thank you for all the time you put into it!
Both sill and strömming are accepted answers. sill is the most common word for the species. (Clupea harengus). The word strömming is used specifically for herring caught in the Baltic sea, north of Kalmarsund. There are some minor genetic differences (only recently discovered) and also sill is generally bigger and fatter. :)