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If you happen to be in New York City when this celebration takes place (summer solstice), I highly encourage you to go.
In our context here, Midsummer refers to the summer solstice, and the day in the year which has the longest period of daylight. It also refers to the European celebration, especially in Scandinavia.
In Sweden, it is a pretty important celebration, one of the most important of the year. Since the summer days are few and the darker days are many, the arrival of summer is reason to party: family and friends meet to celebrate with food, beer and dancing.
A maypole decorated with flowers and wreaths is usually made and raised and people dance around it.
They also make flower head wreaths that they wear.
The atmosphere is very festive and friendly.
I have never had the opportunity to go to Sweden and see such a celebration, but thanks to my mother who learned Swedish, I learned about this tradition. I also had the opportunity to participate in such a ceremony at the Institut suédois in Paris and really enjoyed it. I loved the festive atmosphere and how people were simply having fun!
Last year, I heard about the celebration in NYC but renounced going at the last minute because of the weather (mostly rainy). This year – last week – I attended (although only in part as I was joining my husband and a friend at a restaurant nearby in the early evening).
In NYC, the celebration takes place every year at Battery Park City, in Lower Manhattan.
This year, an estimated 6,000 people attended.
I was very glad to have decided to join this celebration. It was a very hot and humid summer day and my only regret is that I didn’t get a chance to try the food, or to take pictures of it. Everything looked very good. No beer was allowed though, since alcohol is forbidden in NYC Parks.
Below are two videos that I filmed with my small camcorder: the first one before it began, the second one of the celebration beginning with the bringing of the pole, the songs and dances. The second one is a bit long but you skip can through and jump to some of the songs.
Thank you very much to my Mom, Janina, for giving me the name of the songs and their translation.
– Page of the Consulate General of Sweden in New York
– Photos from the Consulate’s Flickr page
– Midsummer (Sweden.se – The Official gateway to Sweden)
– Midsummer (VisitSweden.com)