What started as a pagan ceremony to ward off evil spirits and honor the sun is now a beloved celebration of nature, community and warm summer nights. Midsommer is celebrated throughout Scandinavia on different days from June 19-25—and specifically recognized in Norway on June 24.
Midsommer originates long before Christianity was introduced, and began as an observation of summer solstice; the longest day of the year. During this time, the Old Norse believed that the turning of the sun was a dangerous event, and could ultimately determine the fate of mankind if failed to take the right course. Once Christianity was introduced, the day was replaced to honor the birth of St. John the Baptist and referred to as Sankthans or Jonsok. Although this transition was widely accepted by many, the Church was unable to dismiss the deeply rooted folk beliefs connected to the day. So while the celebrations were given a new purpose, many of the customs and superstitions remained. This includes the most significant Midsommer tradition, the bonfire. The Old Norse would use bonfires to strengthen the power of the sun and drive away supernatural beings. Today, bonfires are merely lit as a festive opportunity to connect with the outdoors and celebrate with friends and family
There are plenty of way you can celebrate this fun Norwegian tradition yourself. Simply enjoy a hike outside or decorate your home with plants and flowers. You can celebrate with your lodge or make s’mores and hot dogs with the little ones over a fire. However you decide to celebrate, we hope you enjoy this seasonal tradition.