Welcome Midsummer’s Eve

What kind of public market author would I be if I didn’t mention midsummer? I wish more food organizations would use the old holidays to remind us all of the ebb and flow of life ruled by the sun and the plant…
In 2008, back when we were designing the new iteration of Market Umbrella, the E.D. and I attempted to add two holidays to the employees schedule that represented farming and justice: Harvest Day and May Day. Unfortunately, the staff did not agree since they had to give up two other holidays that their family and friends celebrated, Labor Day and MLK Day; silly us-we thought community organizers might want to work on MLK Day to honor him!
We should have celebrated another way, possibly with a special lunch or an educational outing. In any case, I hope everyone celebrates June 21 with their own outing to a farmers market and a special lunch….

From the Encyclopaedia Britannica:


Midsummer’s Eve, Swedish Midsommar, Finnish Juhannus, Danish Sankt Hans Aften, NorwegianSankhansaften,  holiday celebrating the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, thesummer solstice (June 21). Midsummer’s Eve is observed in several countries. It is a national holiday in Sweden and Finland, and the official holiday is typically observed on the third Friday in June to allow a three-day weekend. During this time many Scandinavians travel to rural parts of the country. Midsummer’s Eve activities in Sweden include gathering around a flower-festooned maypole(majstång) to sing and dance, an ancient custom probably related to fertility rites. Before the holiday Scandinavians thoroughly clean their houses and decorate them with flowers and other greenery. In Denmark holiday traditions include singing “Vi elsker vort land” (“We Love Our Land”) and building a bonfire where a symbolic straw witch is sacrificed in remembrance of church-sanctioned witch burnings in the 16th and 17th centuries. Traditional foods, such as pickled herring, smoked fish, new potatoes, and strawberries, are served, along with beer and schnapps.

The celebration predates Christianity and is likely related to ancient fertility practices and ceremonies performed to ensure a successful harvest. The holiday was later rededicated to honour St. John the Baptist in Christian times. Although the meaning of the holiday has changed, some pagan customs still persist, such as the bonfires, which originally were believed to ward off evil spirits, and the focus on nature, which harkens back to when plants and water were thought to have magical healing powers on Midsummer’s Eve.



from Orion magazine:


“no such event is complete without aquavit, herring, or Små grodorna, a dancing game in which people sing this about frogs while dancing around the Midsummer pole:

The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to observe.
The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to observe.
No ears, no ears, no tails do they possess.
No ears, no ears, no tails do they possess.

Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa.”