Midsummer at Skansen

Enjoy a traditional midsummer at Skansen! We bind birch wreaths‚ raises the leafy maypole (midsummer eve at 2 pm)‚ we dance and play games around the maypole‚ enjoys folk music and folk dance. You can also dance both old and new dances on our dance floors far into the bright Swedish summer night.

Skansen

These activities you can take part of at lots of places at Skansen, not just one. Please read the programme to see everything it has to offer.

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Midsummer Eve June 23

2–3.30 pm Raising of the grand Maypole Ring dances for everyone. Tingsvallen

10 am–2 pm Make your own Midsummer wreath The Orsa Hill
11 am–12 Meet the Wise Woman Kyrkhult Farmstead
11 am–8 pm Midsummer fair Handicrafts and locally produced food. The Bollnäs Square
3, 4 and 5 pm Midsummer concert Listen to a midsummer concert with song, violin and organ. Seglora Church
4–5 pm Spinning Jennies A unique performance with the Bluegrass quintet Spinning Jennies. Tingsvallen
5–5.40 pm A Midsummer Celebration of the Past with the Skansen folk dancers, folk musicians and ring dancing children. The Tingsvallen Stage
5.45–6.45 pm Dance and games around the Maypole for everyone. Tingsvallen
6.30–7.30 pm Meet the Wise Woman Kyrkhult Farmstead
7–7.30 pm Performance of Swedish folk dance the Tingsvallen Stage
8–8.30 pm Folk music with the Skansen folk musicians the Iron Master’s Farmstead
8–9 & 9.25–11 pm Public dancing to the Grindsäter Folk musicians The Bollnäs Square
8–12 pm Modern dance with Sandins Galejan

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Midsummer Day June 24

11 am–2 pm Make your own Midsummer wreath The Orsa Hill

11 am–12 Meet with the Wise Woman Kyrkhult Farmstead
11 am–5 pm Midsummer fair Handicrafts and locally produced food. The Bollnäs Square
1–1.45 pm Dance and games around the Maypole. Tingsvallen
2 & 3 pm Midsummer concert Listen to a midsummer concert with song, violin and organ. Seglora church
2.30–3.10 pm A Midsummer Celebration of the Past with Skansen’s folk dancers, folk musicians and ring dancing children. The Tingsvallen Stage
3.30–4.15 pm Dance and games around the Maypole. Tingsvallen
8–9.15 & 9.45–11 pm Public dancing to the Grindsäter folk musicians. The Bollnäs Square
8–12 pm Modern dance with Sandins. Galejan 

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Midsummer continues June 25

11 am–5 pm Midsummer fair Handicrafts and locally produced food. The Bollnäs Square

2–2.45 pm Dance and games around the Maypole for everyone. Tingsvallen
4–4.30 pm Performance of Swedish folk dance The Tingsvallen Stage

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Midsummer traditions

Midsummer at Skansen is highly popular and attracts a huge crowd every year. You can be certain of a lively time with traditional Swedish entertainments and plenty of fun. Midsummer's Eve is, with Christmas, the most popular festival in Sweden. 

Just as in other parts of Europe the festival centred round an ancient agricultural ritual involving the entire village. Elsewhere the villagers made a great bonfire but in these latitudes the lightest night of the year was not the right time for dancing around a fire! So the bonfires were replaced by another ancient summer tradition; that of the maypole. Maypoles are believed to be part of an old fertility rite, the pole being a phallus that "impregnates" Mother Nature. It was hoped that properly celebrating this rite would help to give a good harvest in the autumn.

Midsummer night was also believed to be a time of powerful and secret forces. Everything was animated: the dew, the flowers, the twigs of the trees and the water in the wells. People also claimed that if a young woman placed a bouquet of seven or nine different flowers (the traditions vary) under her pillow that night she would dream of her future love. She must remain alone while picking the flowers and observe total silence. A flower from the churchyard increased the magical powers of the bouquet, as did picking flowers from the banks of three different roads at a crossroads.

Midsummer today is a national holiday in Sweden. Families and friends meet and eat pickled herring and new potatoes washed down with schnapps and beer. Camping is a popular activity at this lovely time of the year while numerous people flee the cities for their summer cottages. Wherever people live they seek out a place where a maypole is raised and there is dancing and games – like the famous 'frog dance' (små grodorna) - for the children. Midsummer is celebrated in Sweden on the weekend closest to June 24 which is officially Midsummer's Day.

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