Midsummer

Midsummer Eve "wedding" procession. Midsummer Eve celebration.
  1. Midsummer Eve celebration.
  2. Midsummer Eve "wedding" procession.

Midsummer Eve celebrations on June 23 before Midsummer Day June 24, marks summer solstice. The traditions originally dates back to pre-christian times, but it is also associated with the nativity of John the Baptist observed on June 24, and therefore also called St. John's day.

At the museum, Midsummer Eve has been celebrated since 1902, when the the Open-Air Museum was established.

The Norwegian tradition that first and foremost is associated with Midsummer Eve is bonfires, lit to protect against evil spirits. Huge bonfires are preferably lit in places that can be seen at great distances. Dancing and singing around the fire is part of the tradition.

In many communities on the west coast of Norway, a make-believe wedding with children or youth has also been a Midsummer Eve tradition. A couple is dressed up as bride and groom in traditional dress. Other children make flower wreaths that they wear on their heads. After a make-believe wedding procession and ceremony, the community gathers to a large party with food and games. These "weddings" symbolizes new life. The tradition is still upheld in many places.

Traditional Hardanger wedding in 1954 in Ulvik, Hardanger.

 


A smoke fire is the tradition in the Open-Air Museum, since an open fire here is not an option.

A smoke fire is the tradition in the Open-Air Museum, since an open fire here is not an option.