Celebrating Midsommarfest in the Pacific Northwest

jsw_midsommarfest-junef2For those of Scandinavian descent, there’s at least three opportunities here in Western Washington this month to enjoy a Midsommarfest !

Our Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge will be having its Midsommarfest on Saturday June 20th from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.  The Northwest Language Academy (NWLA) Midsommarfest is on Saturday June 13th in Langley.  The Skandia Folkdance Society Midsommarfest is being held at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore, Washington on Saturday June  28th.

For details about these Midsommarfest activities, visit our Programs & Activities webpage where more information and website links may be found.

jsw_img_0856Midsommarfest is considered to be the most important holiday of the year in Sweden.  It is celebrated with the raising of the Maypole, the majstång,  along with a feast of traditional food (pickled herring, boiled potatoes and sour cream, strawberries &  brannvin) –music, folk dancing, games and camaraderie. Houses are often decorated with birch twigs. Many people dress in traditional folk costumes.  In Norway and Denmark, Midsummer’s Eve is celebrated with large bonfires and processions in the evening. In Norway, Midsummer’s Eve is also called Jonsok.

In ancient times, midsommar was considered to be one of the key times of the year when the power of magic was strongest. It was thought to be a good time to perform rituals, particularly those which could predict the future. One tradition is that of young people picking bouquets of 7-9 different flowers which they would place under their pillow in the hopes of dreaming about their future spouse. Midsommar was also linked to an ancient fertility festival, as conception at this time would lead to a birth in March, traditionally regarded as a good time for children to be born.

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