Celebrate Midsommar with wildflowers, dancing and treats
Dust off your folk costumes and start weaving your flower wreaths -- the Swedish celebration of Midsommar is nearly here. Midsommar ("midsummer" in English) is a traditional Swedish celebration which marks the beginning of summer. "It's to celebr...
Dust off your folk costumes and start weaving your flower wreaths - the Swedish celebration of Midsommar is nearly here.
Midsommar (“midsummer” in English) is a traditional Swedish celebration which marks the beginning of summer.
“It’s to celebrate the beginning of summer after the long winter, which is very true for us this year,” said Betty Selnes, president of the Swedish Cultural Society of Duluth.
Traditionally it takes place on the summer solstice, June 21, but can be celebrated anytime between June 19 and 25. However, this year the Swedish Cultural Society is getting the party started earlier by holding their Glad Midsommar celebration on Monday, June 16 at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1325 N. 45th Ave. E.
“Everyone is welcome. You don’t have to be Swedish; you just have to like having fun,” Selnes said.
What sort of fun does Selnes mean?
The celebration starts at 12:30 p.m. with a craft time. First there is flower crown-weaving to make traditional wreaths for women. Wildflowers of all sorts, greenery and ribbons will be available to create your wreath. Some of the flowers are purchased; others come from gardens and backyards, or from the wild as long as they are not rare or protected.
Wildflowers are an essential part of the celebration in Sweden. Besides the flower crowns, they’re used to decorate a maypole which is used in several folk dances.
Midsommar is considered a very romantic time of year. Selnes said many romances start during the long summer evenings and the flowers play an important role in another legendary tradition.
Legend has it that if a young girl picks seven different types of wildflowers on Midsommar’s eve and lays them under her pillow, she will dream of the man she will someday marry, Selnes said.
If flower crowns aren’t your style, you can paint a small wooden swedish horse called a “dalahast” at the celebration.
If you aren’t a “crafty” person, you can participate in the folk dancing instruction at 1 p.m. Then you will be prepared for the musical program beginning at 2 p.m. by a Swedish Folk group from the Twin Cities called “Varsk Spelman.” The group is comprised of a mother and her two sons and daughter who play traditional songs on a variety of instruments, including the accordian, guitar, and viola. The group will lead folk ring dances outside around a maypole, if the weather permits.
“We’ve had a few times where it’s rained where we’ve had the maypole and the ring dancing in the church basement, which works but it gets a little congested,” Selnes said.
In fact, two years ago the celebration had to be canceled. On the day it was scheduled, the 2012 flood occurred.
Selnes hopes nothing will interfere with this year’s festivities.
After the dancing, coffee and Swedish treats will be served inside the church. Traditionally Midsommar foods include the first potatoes of the season with fresh dill, sour cream and chives along with herring and grilled meat. Sweets include the first strawberries with cream. However, Selenes said most of the treats provided at their event will include traditional breads and cookies.
What: Glad Midsommar celebration
Where: Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1325 N. 45th Ave. E.
When: Monday, June 16
- 12:30-1:45 p.m. Create a flower crown or paint a Dalahast
- 2 p.m. Swedish folksongs with the Varsk Spelman
- 3 p.m. Decorate and raise the Majstang with Ring Dancing led the Varsk Spelman
- 3:30 p.m. Coffee and Swedish treats
Suggested donation: $5 per adult, free for children