We celebrated Swedish Midsummer in Oslo


We celebrated Swedish Midsummer in Oslo


With some guidance from a Swedish friend we had a great Midsummer celebration with a mix of Norwegian and Swedish traditions.

So what are the main differences between a Swedish Midsummer celebration and a Norwegian one?

The Swedish Midsummer is a national holiday in Sweden. It’s as big as Christmas and their most important celebration during summer, and is done rain or shine. For Norwegians it’s less important, and if it’s raining they might not even celebrate at all.

Here are some of the main differences:

  • Swedish Midsummer is celebrated on the Friday before the Summer solstice.

  • Norwegian Midsummer is celebrated on the 23rd of June and is called Sankt Hans aften (Saint Johns evening)

  • The Swedes have particular songs and dances that they do throughout the evening, and they also set up a Midsummer pole to dance around

  • The Norwegians have no dances and no songs and instead of a pole they light up big bonfires (said to scare the evil spirits away). They don’t dance around the fires…

  • The Swedes eat typical dishes for Midsummer, like setting up a Smörgåsbord with herring, new potatoes, hard boiled eggs etc.

  • The Norwegians usually do a BBQ of some sorts

  • The Swedes often wear a flower crown and put on white clothes

  • The Norwegians dress casual and wear no crown

  • The Swedes stay up late and consume considerable amounts of aquavit (Scandinavia schnaps)

  • Most years, Norwegians have to go to work the next day (unless if the 23rd falls on a weekend), so they go to bed earlier and limit their aquavit consumption

Now that you know the main differences, here are a few picture from this years Swedish/Norwegian celebration in a park in Oslo (we stayed up late, and did not limit the aquavit consumption). I hope you enjoy the photos, and I wish you the best for your summer!




Your friend in Norway,


Pål of Norway With Pål

Pål of Norway With Pål

Norway native, veteran travel guide, sailor, filmmaker, and writer (you might have seen me in one of Rick Steves’ guidebooks!). I want to help you enjoy Norway the right way — like a local. Learn more about me.

DISCLAIMER: Products on this page may contain affiliate links, and I might make a small sum per purchase. For you this does not affect the product price, but supports me and my work, and makes me able to continue sharing my passion for Norway with you. Read the Disclaimer policy. Thank you, tusen takk!

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