Category Archives: Sommarfest

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.

Celebrating the solstice Scandinavian-style

On June 21st a slightly different kind of celebration of the summer solstice took place about a mile south of Coupeville just off Jacobs Rd.  Lodge members and their families & friends gathered together for a midsommarfest – surely the most popular festival in Scandinavia other than Christmas.  A great occasion for Lodge members to celebrate their heritage as well as have a good time!

jsw_img_0873_croppedLodge member Vern Olsen was there with his accordion and Pat McMonagle, well-known folk dance instructor in the Seattle area, was there to teach folks some new dances and join in with them on dances they already knew.  Some folks played Kubb (a game claimed to date back to the Viking age) out on the lawn, others played horseshoes.  All feasted on pølse med lompe accompanied by various side-dishes & desserts and all had a great time!

Highlights of the afternoon were the raising of the maistang (maypole) and a troll trail!

Members arrived a bit early to decorate the maistang, and the raising of the pole about 3pm marked the start of the festivities! (In other countries a maypole is usually raised on May 1st).

Click on any photo to begin a slide-show.

The Troll Trail, featuring rock trolls imagined & created by member Cherie Iverson & a few other troll devotees, took folks around a beautiful loop trail in the forest adjacent to the Nordic Hall.  It was a hit!

Click on any photo to begin a slide-show.  Enjoy!
Photos were provided by Marcia Comer, June Fitzpatrick and Joan Gerteis.