Celebrate Midsummer's Eve

With the Sons of Norway - Dovre Lodge and the Pioneer Village Museum

Saturday, June 20, 5:30 PM - 8 PM | Bonfire - 8:30 PM

What is Midsummer?

Midsummer (Norwegian: midtsommer; Swedish: midsommar; Finnish: keskikesä) is a Northern Hemisphere tradition that spread through Northern Europe to the Americas. Though the origins of this celebration date to pre-Christian summer solstice festivals, it survived the Christianization of Europe in the form of the Feast of St. John the Baptist, established in the 4th Century CE to celebrate his birth. (This date was chosen to align with the established birthday of Jesus, December 25th; according to Biblical lore, John the Baptist was born six months before Jesus.) 

Scandinavian immigrants to our region brought Midsummer Eve celebrations with them. This is a celebration that has endured up to the present day, both in Scandinavia and in the Scandinavian diaspora worldwide, particularly the United States. 

Midsummer Eve Bonfire, painting by Norwegian artist Nikolai Astrup (30 Aug 1880 - 21 Jan 1928)

Midsummer Eve celebrants raising a maypole; photo by Adville, Wikipedia.

Last year, the Pioneer Village Museum joined together with the Sons of Norway - Dovre Lodge to bring Midsummer Eve traditions to the Barron County community. 

As with both ancient and modern traditions, a bonfire was central to the celebrations (along with the presence of the local fire department!), and the Sons of Norway raised a maypole (majstång or midsommarstång). 

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the need for appropriate social distancing, this will be a much more muted celebration this year, with the museum grounds open for free touring from 5:30 - 8:00 PM, but we will still have an amazing bonfire at 8:30 PM, and guests are welcome to wear traditional attire. Guests are also encouraged to wear masks, and there will be hand sanitizer available on the museum grounds.

Bring your friends and family for an evening of cultural learning and fun!

No pets are allowed on the Museum grounds, with the exception of service animals.

We are a member of Blue Star Museums. Go to www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums for more information.

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