The local Swedish American chapter in Bemidji does a great job with the Midsummer Fest. A maypole is set up down by the Lake Bemidji waterfront. Vacationers and local people stop to enjoy the celebration. Everyone is welcome to dance around the maypole. I’ve even done it myself and haven’t been too embarrassed, I might add.
The start of summer holidays in Sweden
Swedes are fairly well attuned to the rhythms of nature. At Midsummer, many begin their five-week annual holidays and everyone is in a hurry to get things done during the relatively short summer season. Midsummer Eve is celebrated in the countryside − as always − and on the day before, everyone leaves town, everything closes and the city streets are suddenly spookily deserted.
The country’s main thoroughfares, on the other hand, are packed. Queues of cars stretch away into the distance, and at the end of the road, family and friends wait among silver birches in full, shimmering bloom.
Maypoles and dancing
Midsummer is an occasion of large gatherings − and to be honest, many Swedes take advantage of it to fulfil their social obligations so that they can enjoy the rest of their holiday in peace. In many cases, whole families gather to celebrate this traditional high-point of the summer.
Swedes like the world to be well-ordered, so Midsummer Eve is always a Friday between 19 and 25 June. People often begin the day by picking flowers and making wreaths to place on the maypole, which is a key component in the celebrations.
The maypole is raised in an open spot and traditional ring-dances ensue, to the delight of the children and some of the adults. Teenagers tend to stay out of it and wait for the evening’s more riotous entertainment.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning about the Swedes and why there’s maypole dancing.
Many thanks to the Swedish Midsummer site: https://sweden.se/collection/celebrating-the-swedish-way/article/midsummer/