Ever since 1996, Swedes (and non-Swedes as well) from around the greater New York City area, have come together to celebrate what many feel is the true Swedish national day - Midsummer. For several years now, Battery Park City in lower Manhattan has hosted this event. A sizable portion of the Swedish expatriate community in NYC showed up to celebrate Midsummer the Swedish way last Friday, but many who happened to pass by also joined in, as participating restaurants like Red Rooster, Fika, and Smorgas Chef offered delicacies such as Gravlax tacos with avocado-tomato salsa, herring platters, strawberry cake, and lingonberry crepes. The event in Battery Park City is co-hosted by the Swedish consulate and NYC Parks Department. The church has linked this particular day to Saint John the Baptist, but the truth is that Midsummer was celebrated long before the introduction of Christianity in Scandinavia, and is still celebrated outside of church.

Get a sense of the atmosphere, watch our YouTube clip Midsummer in New York City ..like nowhere else

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This year, New York (for the first time in two years) showed beautiful sunny weather, the kind that Swedes dream of for Midsummer. Children and grown-up alike started at 5 in the afternoon by decorating the Maypole and making the ever important flower wreaths. There were also children’s games taking place on the North Lawn. This year a special Midsummer Photo Booth had opened, available for everyone free of charge.
Then at 6 pm, the Midsummer procession and the Maypole raising began, followed by a welcome speech from Honorary Consul General of Sweden in New York David E.R. Dangoor and Tessa Huxley, Executive Director at the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. After that, the “ringdans” began, and all our favorites “Små grodorna”, “Prästens lilla kråka”, and “Karusellen”, just to mention some, were played to everyone’s delight. The dances were called by musician and folklorist Ross Sutter, and the music was provided by Paul Dahlin & Friends. Barnklubben Elsa Rix and the Swedish Folkdancers of New York danced.