Midsummer in New York City may not sound like much, but boy is it beautiful! To a backdrop of the ferries and the Statue of Liberty in the harbor, it might actually be one of the greatest places ever to celebrate midsummer. And no reason to worry about the weather either - the tail end of June usually means a sun-drenched Big Apple. With a decorated Maypole, sing-along songs with the choir from the Swedish Church and the traditional dances, and flower wreaths everywhere, the midsummer celebrations in Battery Park, at the southern tip of New York City, took off. And as usual, many, many people – and not only Swedes – had gathered.

Glad Midsommar
Tessa Huxley, Battery Park City Parks Executive Director and Consul General of Sweden David Dangoor wished everybody a “Glad Midsommar”. Said Dangoor in his welcoming remarks:
“We from the Honorary Consulate wanted to show our faces, so that you can see for yourselves that we’re still very much present here in New York. We haven’t disappeared. Midsummer means enjoying the Swedish flavors, including aquavit at home. And if you wonder why we’re wearing flower wreaths it’s to keep our heads together towards the end of the night.”
Commissioner Brian G. Andersson read the annual proclamation from the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, there was traditional music from Paul Dahlin & Friends of American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, folk dancing performances by Barnklubben Elsa Rix and Swedish Folkdancers. The dances around the Maypole were called by Ross Sutter. Everybody did an incredible job.

Unique celebration
Midsummer is one of the most important holidays of the year in Sweden, and probably the most uniquely Swedish in the way it is celebrated. Many people are dressed in traditional folk costumes in addition to the flower wreaths. Food is also important, the year’s first potatoes, herring, chives and sour cream are all must-haves. As are schnapps and strawberries. Because Midsummer was thought to be one of the times of the year when magic was strongest, it was considered a good night to perform rituals to look into the future. Traditionally, young people pick seven or nine different flowers and put them under their pillow in the hope of dreaming about their future spouse. In the past it was believed that herbs picked at Midsummer were highly potent, and water from springs could bring good health. Whatever your beliefs are, it is easy to fall for the intoxicating magic of a Swedish midsummer!

More on Midsummer: http://www.nordstjernan.com/news/traditions/2412/