Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
Celebrated since the Vikings, bonfires were burned on the beach to ward off evil spirits. Today, bonfires are still part of the tradition, but picnics, songs and speeches are still part of the celebrations.
Many Finn’s leave the cities for the countryside for midsummer. Because of how north Finland is, it’s quite likely that it will be daylight all night. The Finnish flag is hoisted at 6pm to mark the occasion. The night is celebrated with sauna’s, drinks and friends.
Portuguese celebrations last throughout June. Streets are decorated with colorful balloons and paper arches. People dance in the street and altars are erected to different saints and people Caldo Verde (a cabbage and potato soup) and Sardinha Assada (grilled sardines), as well as bread and wine.
Midsummer is a huge celebration for whole families and communities in Sweden. Maypoles (midsommarstång) are erected and people traditionally dance around them. Many people all over the world with Swedish heritage carry on these traditions, integrating them with other traditions.
Mid summer coincides with a number of harvest and summer festivals. Fires are lit to bless crops and pray for peace for the dead. Newly married couples are given white horses to ride up the foot of a mountain as a sign of good luck.
Because the US is built up of people from all over the globe, many traditions from other countries have inspired new traditions, such as parades and festivals celebrated all over the country, especially as a way to celebrate Scandinavian heritage.