Thursday, June 21, 2012

Svenskarnas Dag

Svenskarnas Dag used to be a really big deal. At its height it drew celebrities and politicians of note. Tens of thousands of revelers flocked to Minnehaha Park, danced around the maypole, and picnicked along the falls. It had all the makings of an annual rite of passage: couples formed there, families and neighbors reunited, children learned to sing Swedish songs, and for at least one day each year everyone loved the Swedes. Swedish Heritage Day was a celebration for Swedish Minnesotans and Scandinavian-enthusiasts alike. (I know a widow whose husband loved the festival so much he built their family home near Minnehaha Park so the party would never be far away.)

The Midsummer celebration turns 79 years old on Sunday. Though the crowds are less dense than those of earlier years, the program remains intact. An early morning church service is followed by Swedish music, crafts, and foods, the announcement of Swede of the Year, and the crowning of the Svenskarnas Dag Queen. Midsommar is meant to be celebrated with traditional rituals. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday, but not a big draw for modern Minnesotans who look to Sweden as progressive and contemporary rather than folksy.

If you join us this year, be sure to find a spot near the maypole and bring your dancing sandals. For those of you not familiar with maypole hijinks, the only thing you really need to know in advance is that in Sweden frogs say "Kou ack ack ack," and pigs say, "Å nöff nöff nöff."

Små Grodorna
Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se.
Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se.
Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de.
Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de.
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa.
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa.
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Note: no midsommar celebration is complete without pickled herring. In Called to the Table this week you'll find a recipe for pickled herring with kohlrabi.


 
























1 comment:

frimp said...

What do chickens say in Sweden?