'Svensk Midsommar' ..music, dance and the long hours of sunlight and joy. Is there anything prettier than Swedish Midsummer? Is there anything more Swedish than a maypole?
Well, since the maypole (or midsommarstång) has its roots in German paganism, perhaps there is, but who really cares? On Midsummer we eat and dance with abandon, leaving all worries behind. The sun never sets and there are flowers everywhere. In the past, Midsummer dew cured diseases, and when you put it in dough, the bread came out full and nice. We don’t bake bread with Midsummer dew anymore, but young girls still put seven flowers under their pillows in hopes of dreaming about the man they’ll marry.
In New York City’s Battery Park residents and visitors along with the occasional stunned New Yorker will celebrate a genuine Swedish Midsummer for the 14th year, complete with Swedish Folkdancers, a maypole, dancing led by Jeanne Eriksson Widman, the choir from the Swedish Church and, we’re hoping, allsång (Amelie Heinsjö, Counselor for Press and Cultural Affairs, introduced this popular ingredient to the mix in 2008). The sun will surely shine, the water glitter, it will be almost like home. Follow updates on the celebration at www.swedennewyork.com
“Nights in June do not come about,” said Ambassador Ulf Hjertonsson, Consul General of Sweden in New York at last year’s event, quoting Harry Martinsson, “there’s just a touch of darkness.” Ambassador Hjertonsson is returning to Sweden in June after a full term as Consul General in New York. We wish him and his lovely wife Karin Oldfelt Hjertonsson all the best in their future endeavors. He returns under a dark cloud; he may be the last Swedish Consul General in New York City for quite some time. The official announcement by the Swedish government had not yet been made as we write this but a shutting down seems likely, a move protested by the corporate world, Nobel prize winning New Yorkers and us, the Swedes and Swedophiles, alike. It is our conviction that any closing of the consulates in LA or NYC - which have been rumored all year - would be a temporary move, not at all beneficial to the nation and saving money only short term. The sun will rise again over a Consulate General in both New York and Los Angeles for sure, for as Ulf Nilson reflects in the upcoming issue of Nordstjernan, "Reputation good or reputation bad... ..the U.S. is always the key player."
There will surely be just "a touch of darkness" when it comes to Consulates closing and as for the celebrations of the long days of summer, here, below are some of the Summer and Midsummer celebrations coming up this June, from early in June to late:
06.20.2009 1 PM
Scandinavian Midsummer festival at North Park University, 3223 West Foster Avenue, Chicago. More info, see www.northpark.edu or contact Maiken Sparshott by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at ( 773) 244-5592
06.27.09 2 – 9 PM
4th Annual Scandinavian Midsommar Celebration –
Vasa Park, Route 31, South Elgin. Adults $5.00, Children 12 & Under FREE. More info, see www.vasaparkil.com or call 847-695-6720
06.14.2009 2 PM
Dalesburg Scandinavian Association invites to the 140th Annual Midsommar celebration. More info and to order smorgasbord tickets ($8/$4) write Dalesburg Midsommar, 30595 University Road, Vermillion SD 57069.
Annual Swedish Midsummer Celebration in Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park in Battery Park City on the southwestern tip of Manhattan. Preparations begin in the late afternoon. Continuously updated info at www.swedennewyork.com
Midsummer’s Festival in Lindsborg: ‘Little Sweden USA’. A three-day program with something for everyone. More info, see www.midsummersfestival.org.
06.19.2009 - 06.20.2009
Stromsburg's Swedish Midsommar Festival with traditional Swedish cuisine & entertainment. Visit www.stromsburgnebraska.com for more information.
Scandinavian Midsummer Festival at Clatsop County Fairgrounds, 92937 Walluski Loop, Astoria, OR. More info, see www.astoriascanfest.com
06.20.2009 4 PM
Midsommarfest 2009 - a Shared Smörgåsbord potluck with Swedish Music and Song and a Dance around the Majstång. Shelter #12, Lower City Park, Iowa City, Iowa. More info, call 319-351-2595.
Swedish American Patriotic League is celebrating its 115th annual Sveadal Midsummer this year. For more info, see www.sveadal.org
SCAN and SWEA Los Angeles Midsummer celebration and shrimp fest at Nansen Field. For more info, contact SWEA LA or Paal Berg at (562)716-941 or e-mail to email@example.com
Midsummer at Vasa Park, Agoura, Cal. Scandinavian food, artisans and vendors will be at hand as the Swedish American Central Association hosts the 2009 Midsummer celebration. For more info, see www.vasapark.org or call (714) 378-9821
Scandinavian American Heritage Society (SAHS) Midsummer Celebration at Vasa Park, Budd Lake NJ from 11AM until dusk. More info, details and directions: www.sahsnj.org and www.vasaparknj.com. 973 627-5072
06.20.2009 11:00 AM
Swedish American Heritage Society of West Michigan is holding its Swedish traditional Midsommarfest at Seeger Estate, 6977 Alaska Avenue SE in the village of Alaska, MI. More info: www.sahswm.org
06.19.2009 6:30 – 9:30 PM
Midsommar Eve music at American Swedish Institute. Outdoor concert with traditional Swedish music, choirs and more contemporary guests. More info, see www.americanswedishinst.org
06.20.2009 10:00 AM – 04 PM
Traditional Midsommar at American Swedish Institute. More info, see www.americanswedishinst.org
“Svenskarnas Dag” in Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis, Minn. For more info, see www.svenskarnasdag.com
Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival in Moorhead, Minn. Not predominantly a Mmidsummer celebration but a celebration of the spirit of the Nordic people. Parade, music and food—the older arts and traditions along with modern Scandinavian cultures are showcased from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Saami Land. For more info, see www.ScandinavianHjemkomstFestival.org or call 218-299-5452.
Estes Park Scandinavian Midsummer Festival, 1.5 hours north of Denver, Col.. For more info, see www.estesmidsummer.com.
06.28.2009 06:00 PM
Midsommar Festival at Landgrove Inn, sponsored by the Inn and Nordic Harmoni Chorus. Call Carl-Erik Westberg for info at 802-824-6578 or Tom at the Inn at 802-824-6673.
No celebration listed close to you? For continuous info from all of Scandinavian America, see events at www.nordstjernan.com. Also, find your local SWEA chapter by going to www.swea.org—almost every Swea organization will celebrate this day.