By Heidi Herman-Kerr |
Midsummer marks the summer solstice, traditionally celebrated in Nordic with large festivals. These countries – Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and the associated territories of Greenland, the Faroe Islands and the Åland Islands – endure winters marked by as much as twenty hours of darkness, it’s easy to see why they throw a big party at the height of sunlight.
The celebration usually includes include wearing wreaths made from wild flower, dancing around the maypole singing traditional songs, food, drink and socializing with friends. It is said that that an old belief exists that the louder a Finn was when marking the midsummer, the better his luck would be in the coming year.
In Iceland, Midsummer is surrounded by folklore and is one of four magic nights that occur thought the year. The others are Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Thirteenth Night (January 6th). Midsummer is know as Jónsmessa, named after Jon the Baptist, an early attempt to convert to Christianity while holding on to pagan beliefs. It is said that on Jónsmessa, special powers abound – cows are able to speak, seals become human, and any wish spoken aloud will be granted. Long-standing folklore states that if you’re in Iceland and sit at a crossroads where all four roads lead to separate churches, the huldufólk will tempt you with food and gifts. If you resist temptation, you will be greatly rewarded.
Does this sound that a holiday you simply must participate in? Well, you’re in luck, we have a list of Midsummer festivals going on right here in the USA!
Manhattan, New York. Swedish Midsummer Festival on Friday June 21 from 5-8 p.m. Dances around the Midsummer pole, picnics in the grass and seasonal treats from local Swedish restaurants and food vendors.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Saturday, June 22 -7 p.m. Sponsored by the American Swedish Historical Museum, Food, music, games, children’s crafts, and maypole dancing. Special performance by the award-winning Swedish band JAERV! Celebrate the museum’s 40th anniversary.
Scandia, Minnesota. Midsommar Dag on Saturday, June 22 10-4. Sponsored by the Gammelgården Museum. Events include craft and art fair, Kubb demonstration, Smörgåsbord spread, raising of the Maypole, live music and folk dances.
Fargo, North Dakota/Moorhead, Minnesota. 41st Scandinavian Hjemkomst & Midwest Viking Festival. Friday and Saturday. From the forested lakes of Finland through the Norwegian fjords to the shores of Iceland, we’re bringing together an international collection of chefs, artists, musicians, storytellers, historians, and vendors to fully immerse you in the Nordic roots that planted themselves so prominently in our Red River Valley communities.
Omaha, Nebraska. Sunday, 23rd 12-4. The 10th annual Scandinavian Midsummer Festival at Elmwood Park.
Estes Park, Colorado. Scandinavian Midsummer Festival. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Hosted by the Scandinavian Alliance of Colorado. Public Parking – Free Admission – Family Friendly. Be inspired by the rich cultural heritage of Scandinavia. 80+ Artisans, organizations, and performers share our cultural heritage through food, crafts, demonstrations, and entertainment. Full details, click on the link above
Spanish Fork, Utah. Spanish Fork Library. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Iceland Days 2019! The oldest Icelandic settlement in North America. Whether you have Icelandic ancestry or are simply curious about the beautiful country of Iceland, this event is for you!
Astoria, Oregon. Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival. Friday 2-11, Saturday 7-11, Sunday 7-4. Three days of Scandinavian food, music, vendors, and events held at the Clatsop County Fair & Expo
Agoura Hills, California. Sunday, June 23 8:30-6. The 99th Annual Midsummer Celebration sponsored by the Swedish American Central Association of Southern California at Vasa Park. Parade, maypole, live music and dancing.
San Diego, California. Sunday 8-3:30. Sponsored by House of Sweden. Balboa Park. Raising of the Maypole, food, Vikings, costume and flag procession, a Swedish singing group performance.
With all these choices, there’s bound to be one near you. So, unleash your inner viking and go celebrate Midsummer!