Scandinavian Summer Solstice – Dance

ambience: Scandinavian song and dance, women’s voices

Celebrating the summer solstice is an ancient custom, which is still observed by many cultures around the world, including in Scandinavia. Today we’ll visit a Nordic style solstice celebration held in the United States. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We’re in Carderock Park, Maryland at the annual Scandinavian summer solstice picnic.

“Attention! We are now going to bring in the maystom. The musicians will lead the way and anybody can follow, so join in the procession if you’re a good pagan Scandinavian.”

Singing traditional Nordic courting songs, dancers circle around the maypole, or maystom, a symbol of fertility and rebirth. Swedish born Rosemarie Oster is a professor at the University of Maryland.

“Well, we have the midsummer pole – the maypole that we decorate with flowers and green leaves, and dance around. I guess that’s a bit different from other countries. And there’s also the very old custom of young girls collecting seven flowers and putting them under their pillow and then presumably they dream about their future bridegroom. That’s one of the customs. There are a lot of customs in different provinces of Sweden. But midsummer is a very special time for us, because we aren’t used to good weather. And if the midsummer is good weather, it’s a real source of joy and, and celebration.”

At the American Scandinavian Association’s annual solstice picnic, once the Maypole is in the ground, the dancing continues until the sun disappears from the horizon. All who attend the event are expected to jump in.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Scandinavian Summer Solstice - Dance

Maryland is the site of an annual celebration where folks of all ages delight in dancing around a maypole until the sun sets.
Air Date:06/20/2001
Scientist:
Transcript:


ambience: Scandinavian song and dance, women’s voices

Celebrating the summer solstice is an ancient custom, which is still observed by many cultures around the world, including in Scandinavia. Today we’ll visit a Nordic style solstice celebration held in the United States. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We’re in Carderock Park, Maryland at the annual Scandinavian summer solstice picnic.

"Attention! We are now going to bring in the maystom. The musicians will lead the way and anybody can follow, so join in the procession if you're a good pagan Scandinavian."

Singing traditional Nordic courting songs, dancers circle around the maypole, or maystom, a symbol of fertility and rebirth. Swedish born Rosemarie Oster is a professor at the University of Maryland.

"Well, we have the midsummer pole - the maypole that we decorate with flowers and green leaves, and dance around. I guess that's a bit different from other countries. And there's also the very old custom of young girls collecting seven flowers and putting them under their pillow and then presumably they dream about their future bridegroom. That's one of the customs. There are a lot of customs in different provinces of Sweden. But midsummer is a very special time for us, because we aren't used to good weather. And if the midsummer is good weather, it's a real source of joy and, and celebration."

At the American Scandinavian Association’s annual solstice picnic, once the Maypole is in the ground, the dancing continues until the sun disappears from the horizon. All who attend the event are expected to jump in.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music