Pass the silltårta! It’s Midsummer!

Photo via Noah Photography


Pass the silltårta! It’s Midsummer!

Photo via Guillaume Baviere

As we explained in our profile on the Scandinavian Alliance of Colorado’s celebration, Midsummer is typically celebrated on a Friday between June 20 and June 26, at the time of the summer solstice. The holiday, second only to Christmas, brings friends, family and Swedes together for a large celebration. At a typical gathering, you can see people of all ages wearing homemade flower crowns and dancing around the Maypole (a pole, often decorated with flower wreaths).

Just because you’re not in Sweden doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Midsummer. Events are taking place in New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and many other places. With a quick local Google search, you might find a Midsummer celebration near you, too.

No festival near you? That’s OK. We asked U.S.-based Umgås readers how they plan to celebrate. Here are some of our favorite responses:

Jude E. says:

“I’ll be eating crayfish, making a strawberry cream cake, bringing garden flowers in to the house and blasting ABBA songs sung in Swedish from the stereo.”

Lelayna Y. says:

“I focus on the food! Right now I have gravlax curing in the fridge. I’ll harvest tiny potatoes, beets and dill from my garden. My son is 3, so this year I’ll teach him to make flower wreaths! I grew up participating in the Midsommar festivities at the Swedish American historical museum in Philadelphia – I was part of the folk dancing. (My mamma is Swedish – she and her entire family live in Sweden. I’m in Pennsylvania).

Tabi J. says:

“My family is having a family reunion during Midsummer to celebrate our Swedish roots, complete with a Swedish dinner and relatives from Sweden visiting Illinois.”

Daniel H. says:

“I’m a Swede living in Tennessee. This’ll be the first Midsummer in the U.S. for me, and my plan is to have a big get-together. My parents are visiting right now, and they brought plenty of Swedish nubbe for a big party. I’m thinking I’ll make meatballs and serve whatever kind of herring I can find here, with new potatoes and sour cream/chives sauce. We’d play lots of games and listen to a mix of old Swedish music and music people actually would enjoy ;). If I can’t build a Midsummer pole, at least I’ve got a 2-foot decorative one I can put out on a table or something.”

Robin A. says:

“Grew up in Sweden from 90-00 and lived there 08-10. My family is completely Swedish, and we speak Swedish at the household. We celebrate with other Swedish people and whoever American that dares to keep up with the partying. Same thing for Christmas. It’s always fun to see friends of mine’s faces when an 85-year-old is wanting

Marcus Leip
Photo via Marcus Leip

to take a shot with them. The fun part of living in the U.S. is that Americans really want to get to know your traditions and holidays while they share theirs with you.”

Charlie A. says:

“Lots of family and friends come over. We have a smorgasbord with new potatoes, salmon, herring, cheeses, crackers, small sandwiches, prinskorv, strawberry cake, aquavit, cocktails and beer. I erect a decorated Maypole topped with an American and Swedish flag, and everyone makes flower crowns. We dance around the Maypole singing “Små grodorna” and “Vi äro musikanter” in Swedish and English. Yard games including kubb, as well as trips down to the river. In the evening we have fireworks, a bonfire, and everyone stays late into the night. It’s my favorite celebration of the summer. My family (I am a third generation Swedish-American) comes from Bohus-Malmön Island as well as the west shore of Lake Multen in Örebro County. I now live in Marine on Saint Croix in Minnesota, a couple miles from Stillwater and Scandia, two of the first Swedish settlements in Minnesota. Skal!”

This post has been updated from its original posting in 2016.

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