December 04, 2021
Family Fun


Family Fun

Midsummer Magic

Traditional Swedish celebration marks 108 years

Image 1 of 2

Svenskarnas Dag, or Swedish Day, is the Midwest's oldest Midsummer festival, dating back to 1911. Swedish Day is held on June 17, in Geneva.

Not to be confused with the city’s annual Swedish Days carnival, which starts later that week (also a great time), this is a traditional ethnic festival, and has entertained the Fox Valley area for generations.

In Sweden, Midsummer's Eve is one of the most important days of the year, rivaling Christmas with its festive spirit and traditions. Traditionally, Midsummer was celebrated on June 24, the feast day of St. John the Baptist, but the holiday has its roots in a pre-Christian solstice festival. According to Scandinavian history, Midsummer was considered to be a time of magic, and anything to do with nature was thought to have a special power. Gathering flowers to weave into wreaths and crowns was a way to harness nature’s magic to ensure good health throughout the year.

Participants in this year’s Swedish Day celebration can enjoy the Maypole Celebration, Swedish crafts, traditional Swedish food and the natural beauty of Good Templar Park.

This year also marks the 125th anniversary of the sailing of the Viking ship from Norway to America's World's Fair in Chicago.

The ship, at home in Good Templar Park, was built at Christen Christensen’s Framnes Shipyard in Sandefjord, Norway in 1892-93. It was copied after the ancient Viking ship Gokstad. Excavated in 1880, the Gokstad had been called the most beautiful ship ever built.

The Viking is approximately 78 feet long, 17 feet wide, and 6.5 feet high from the bottom of the keel to the gunwale. In 1893 the Viking sailed from Norway to Chicago, via the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes, and became one of the greatest attractions at the World’s Columbian Exposition.

As part of the celebration, festival-goers will be treated to ship tours, a Viking encampment, and Viking themed games, all hosted by Viking re-enactors.

For more information, visit www.goodtemplarpark.org/events/2018/6/17/swedish-day

Viking Midsummer Festival and Swedish Day
9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sunday, June 17
Good Templar Park
528 East Side Drive, Geneva