Midsummer: When is it, how is it celebrated, and what happens in Hyde Park?

·2 min read
Swedish people celebrate Midsommar by dancing around a maypole. (AFP via Getty Images)
Swedish people celebrate Midsommar by dancing around a maypole. (AFP via Getty Images)

Midsummer is an annual summer festival celebrated in Sweden, and by Swedish people around the world.

Historically, Midsummer celebrations marked the beginning of summertime and the season of fertility.

It was initially celebrated by young people and the industrial communities of Sweden, but in the 1900s, it became a widely-celebrated Swedish tradition.

Today, it is one of the most popular Swedish holidays, second only to Christmas. But when is Midsummer and how is it celebrated?

When is Midsummer?

Midsummer Day, or as it is known in Sweden, Midsommardagen, is celebrated on the Saturday that falls between June 19 and June 25. Midsummer’s Eve is celebrated on the Friday before.

This year, Midsummer’s Eve falls on June 24 and Midsummer’s Day falls on June 25.

How is Midsummer celebrated in Sweden?

Swedish people traditionally celebrate Midsummer by heading into nature, donning flower crowns or garlands, and dancing around a maypole.

People will eat pickled herring with potatoes, dill, sourcream, and chives, as well as a grilled dish such as ribs or salmon.

Dessert is traditionally strawberries with cream, and the drinks of choice include beer and snaps (not to be mistaken with schnapps).

What happens in Hyde Park during Midsummer?

Swedish people living in London will celebrate Midsummer by heading to the city’s parks–especially Hyde Park–to attend informal gatherings.

The annual event is an important part of the Swedish identity, and outside of Sweden, it’s an opportunity for the Swedish community to come together and celebrate their heritage.

Summer Solstice at Stonehenge 2021 - In Pictures

How is Midsummer celebrated elsewhere?

Other countries celebrate the summer solstice around the same time that Swedish people celebrate Midsummer.

The summer solstice is the first day of astronomical summer and is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. This year, the summer solstice will fall on Tuesday, June 21.

In the UK, thousands of people will head to Stonehenge, which stones mark the position of the rising Sun at the solstices.

People in Latvia will celebrate by staying awake through the shortest night of the year, lighting bonfires, eating, drinking, singing, and dancing.

In Greece, some people will celebrate the day by trekking to the peak of Mount Olympus–following a 2,500-year-old tradition.

People in Mexico will head to the pyramids of Chichén Itzá on the summer solstice to see how the pyramid of El Castillo is illuminated by the sun on one half and covered by shadow on the other.

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