Sweden Invites New York to Experience Midsummer With Live Streams, Midsummer Picnic Baskets for Pickup, and Complimentary Flower Crowns
For the first time in 24 years, the annual Swedish Midsummer Festival in New York City is canceled, due to the coronavirus pandemic. But it is still possible to experience this major Scandinavian holiday, recognizing summer and the summer solstice, through live streams from all over Sweden on Friday, June 19. For New Yorkers who wish to partake in the activities, complimentary Midsummer flower wreath kits will be provided by Visit Sweden in partnership with Morgan+Grand Flowers, and a few restaurants in New York City have announced “Midsummer specials” for pickup.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus-
this year’s Midsummer festivities in Sweden will look a little different. All major Midsummer events in Sweden have been canceled, but Swedes will still celebrate this special day in smaller groups, with family or close friends. In fact, this year’s Midsummer will be even more special because the nationwide celebration – from Skåne in the south to Swedish Lapland in the north – will be shared with everyone through Visit Sweden’s Facebook live streams. Local Swedish hosts will guide the viewer through activities and share their very personal Midsummer traditions: from their take on the infamous frog dance around the Midsummer pole to skiing under the midnight sun.
Visit Sweden Facebook Live Stream Schedule (US/Eastern Time)
5 am Flower-wreath making in Skåne
7 am Midsummer lunch in West Sweden
9 am Dancing around the Midsummer pole in Dalarna
1 pm Flower picking and evening dip in Roslagen
6 pm Midnight sun and skiing in Swedish Lapland
Midsummer Live Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/
Midsummer Celebration in New York City
The Consulate General of Sweden, in collaboration with Battery Park City Authority, typically hosts the annual Swedish Midsummer Festival in New York, which is the largest official Midsummer celebration in the world outside of Sweden. This popular event, dating back to 1996 and drawing thousands of visitors every year, has been postponed until 2021. Instead, the Consulate General of Sweden will honor the Swedish tradition on social media during the week of June 15 leading up to Midsummer’s Eve.
New Yorkers wishing to continue the tradition of celebrating Swedish Midsummer can also pick up a Midsummer flower wreath kit from two locations in Manhattan, by Central Park and Union Square, as well as one in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Visit Sweden is offering these kits free of charge (maximum two per person) on a first-come, first-served basis. Check Morgan+Grand Flowers’ Instagram account for updates: instagram.com/morgandgrand/
Michelin-starred Swedish restaurant Aquavit as well as Swedish top chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Harlem eatery Red Rooster are offering contactless pickup of Midsummer baskets featuring traditional smorgasbord favorites. Pricing and information on how to order the baskets will be available on their websites.
Aquavit is offering a Midsummer Picnic Basket for $155 each. I have attached the full menu and a photo below but each basket feeds at least two people including dishes like herring, Gravlax, Deviled Eggs, Sausages, Swedish Meatballs, and strawberries and cream for dessert; beverages include a flight of housemade aquavits and two Carlsberg beers. The baskets are available to pre-order by calling the restaurant at 212-307-7311 or by visiting the website at www.aquavit.org. Guests can pick up the baskets Thursday, June 18th through Saturday, June 20th from 2 pm to 8 pm.
For those who want to cook their own food, grocery lists and recipes will be shared on
Swedish Midsummer – the Origins
In agrarian times, Midsummer celebrations in Sweden were held to welcome summertime and the season of fertility. It was not until the 1900s, however, that this became the most Swedish of all traditional festivities. Midsummer Night, one of the lightest of the year, was considered a magical night, as it was the best time for telling people’s futures. Also that night, it was said, water was turned into wine and ferns into flowers. Many plants acquired healing powers on that one night of the year.
Swedish Midsummer – the Movie
Last year, many Americans had their first encounter with the tradition in Ari Aster’s horror movie “Midsommar.” The live streams will be a chance to see what Swedish Midsummer really is like – some may recognize the Midsummer pole and dancing, Swedes’ special connection with nature, as well as the light, beautiful nights.
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Links, Recipes, and Information
- Midsummer Live Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/
- Swedish Midsummer for Dummies – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?
- Swedish Institute https://sweden.se/culture-
- Strawberry Cake recipe: https://visitsweden.com/what-
to-do/food-drink/food/ traditional-dish/classic- strawberry-and-cream-cake-aka- jordgubbstarta-recipe/
- Cured salmon recipe: https://visitsweden.com/what-
to-do/food-drink/food/ traditional-dish/cured-salmon- aka-gravad-lax-recipe/
- Midsummer – step by step https://visitsweden.com/where-
- Midsummer in Sweden – a cherished tradition https://visitsweden.com/what-
to-do/culture-history-and-art/ swedish-traditions/midsummer- tradition/midsummer/
- Smoked salmon and Aquavit – How to do midsummer like a Swede https://visitsweden.com/what-
to-do/culture-history-and-art/ swedish-traditions/midsummer- tradition/smoked-salmon-and- aquavit-how-do-midsummer- swede/
- Midsummer in Sweden – like something from another world https://visitsweden.com/what-
to-do/culture-history-and-art/ swedish-traditions/midsummer- tradition/midsummer-sweden- something-another-world/