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Midsummer, a celebration of the summer solstice, intertwines a mixture of cultural, Christian, and pagan traditions that has evolved throughout thousands of years.  It’s celebrated over a span of several days (normally around June 20 – 25) in Sweden and Finland and often occurs in tandem with St. John’s Eve festivities.

Midsummer History and Traditions

Dating back to the late Middle Ages, the centerpiece of Midsummer is the raising and dancing around a majestic Midsummer pole. Adorned with an array of flowers and greenery, this tradition, known as ‘maja’ or maypole, symbolizes the vibrancy of the season.

In agrarian society, the Midsummer night was considered a time of magic and mystery when plants acquired healing powers and prophetic insights into the future. Flowers are an important part of Midsummer traditions. Flower crowns or wreaths are worn by women and children. Long ago it was believed that everything that grew contained special magic powers. Young women would gather seven different kinds of flowers and put them under their pillow to dream of their future spouses. The flowers must be picked in silence, or the magic would be broken.

The tradition of bonfires linked with midsummer celebrations were popular around Europe dating back to the 6th century. It is still a strong tradition in some areas of Sweden. It is believed the fire chases away witches and evil spirits but also warms, or “awakes,” the ground for encouraging a good growing season.

The Celebration

Like all major holidays, Midsummer revolves around eating and drinking. The Midsummer fare boils down to a few musts: fresh potatoes, pickled herring, Aquavit or ‘snaps’ and strawberries. A vital part of enjoying Aquavit is the toasting and singing. For each toast, a new song is sung. The most popular drinking song is ‘Helan går’. The name meaning ‘the whole goes down’ refers to the drink being the first in a series of ‘snaps’.

At Midsummer parties, people of all ages participate in fun games. The different games played at Midsummer are called ‘femkamp’, often with a playful twist. A popular outdoor summer game for Swedes of all ages is ‘kubb’ where the goal is to knock down ten small wooden blocks (‘kubb’) and one large wooden block (‘the king’) by throwing wooden sticks.

Today, Midsummer is about celebrating that the best time of the year lies ahead of us.

If you would like to learn more about midsummer check out the links below:

Midsummer in Sweden

Midsummer in Finland

Posted: May 7, 2024 | In: Uncategorized

As an added bonus for the month of October if you become a new member, or renew your membership for 2017, you will receive a FREE BOOK!










As an SCC shareholder, you are entitled to many benefits, including the knowledge that you are supporting:

  1. the sharing of Nordic culture;
  2. engaging programming which enriches the lives of those who participate; and,
  3. a unique model which promotes sustainability and a shared celebration of culture by showcasing events and programs inside a residential community

Aside from being a leading investor in the growth of the SCC, benefits include:

  • Free admission or discounts to all events

Sign up as a “Shareholder” for $75.
or “Shareholder Plus” for $125 (all of the above benefits plus the ability to bring a guest to every event!).
or as a “Family Shareholder” for $150 (all of the above benefits plus minor children in your household to every event!).

Enroll online here, or by mail with this form. Please note which book you would like in your membership notes.

Limit one per household; while supplies last. 

Posted: October 5, 2016 | In: Uncategorized

Looking to add some Nordic feel to your holiday? We’ve compiled a list of Nord-tastic events in the Boston area.

find them here

god jul | glædelig jul | Gleðileg jól | hyvää joulua





Posted: November 19, 2015 | In: Uncategorized

A few photos from artist Anna Kristina Goransson as she finishes her work on Sommar Solace, a collection of pieces inspired by summer in Sweden, to be displayed in the Nordic Hall at the SCC in May and June with interactive musical accompaniment provided by percussionist Maria Finkelmeier!

A few words from Kristina: “I made most of this work when the landscape here was a solid white and thinking of the Swedish summer became a surreal, otherworldly experience. The works are abstract snapshots of my memories of the warm, lush summers.

Join us for the opening reception for Sommar Solace – Thursday, May 7th – 5:30-7:30 with an artist talk and performance at 6:30pm. It’s free! And part of ArtWeek Boston and the Newton Festival of the Arts!

DSC02015 waves2 grass3

Posted: April 21, 2015 | In: Uncategorized

We asked Rachel Panitch, who will play in the SCC’s “Fika” Sound Series next weekend, to give us a “teaser” about her upcoming fiddle performance with David Kaynor. Learn a bit about Rachel and David here, and join us next Saturday to hear their duo… nothing goes better with coffee and Swedish pastry than the sounds of the fiddle!


When I met David Kaynor in 2002, I was a Classically-trained violinist just starting college. The summer before college, I played a weekly “gig” at the corner ice cream store with a guitar-strumming friend. We had started pulling in fiddle tunes because we needed more repertoire, but I was definitely playing these fiddle tunes in the style of a Classical violinist.

Some traditional fiddle players are annoyed when Classical players try to play ‘their music.’  They reject the idea that someone could learn to play with a fiddling sound, if they’ve learned with Classical technique first.  But not David.  He has a history of encouraging and mentoring young Classical players who have an interest in fiddling.  And that’s what he did with me.

After the first workshop I attended of his, he gave me a CD of his Greenfield Dance Band. I soaked in the whole thing when I got home — learning every melody and transition, until I had the beginnings of my own fiddling repertoire to build on.  I imitated the sounds as closely as I could — and even in doing this, the very beginnings my own fiddling style began to emerge.

Soon, my college boyfriend and I were making spring break trips to Montague, Massachusetts, to dance to, jam with, and learn from David Kaynor’s fiddling. My favorite anecdote that I tell my own students has to do with the joy that David passes along from really “getting into” a tune. After many times through a tune he’s taught, when the group has finally learned it, he’s been known to yell “12 more times!” in a way that makes it feel like we’re not just practicing an exercise — we’re really making music together.

I look forward to making music at the SCC’s Fika Sound Series with a focus on David’s Swedish fiddling heritage and knowledge that he has shared with me, and will be sharing with our audience.  It is always magical to perform with someone when there is mutual musical admiration of each other. We’re both looking forward to November 22nd!


The Fika Sound Series is presented with support from the Barbro Oscher Pro Suecia Foundation.

Posted: November 13, 2014 | In: Uncategorized







The SCC is a proud participant in the City of Newton’s Festival of the Arts planned for this coming spring. We plan to showcase an interactive multimedia installation featuring the felted sculpture of Swedish fiber artist Anna “Kristina” Goransson and the music of American Swedophile/percussionist Maria Finkelemeier.

The plan is an interactive multimedia installation inspired by the sights and sounds of summer in Sweden.

Save the date! Our event is planned for Thursday, May 7th with a reception planned for 5:30-7:30 and a performance at 7pm.

Here is a blog post penned by Maria after she and Kristina had an initial meeting to discuss their project…

Sound + visual art, where to begin?

Meeting with Kristina for fika to brainstorm the vision for our 2015 collaboration at the Scandinavian Cultural Center has been a blast! It’s always great to sit down with another artist and learn about their creative process – what sets an idea into motion? How do you make choices? How do you balance it all, and what is your timeline?

At the time of our meeting, we had each just returned from trips to Sweden, and began by recalling our experiences.  I was very inspired by Kristina’s description of her adventure – she described an undercurrent of a “buzz” in the air paired with the overwhelming sense of calm. After a long conversation about the endless days and bathing in the crisp water, it was clear that we both were inspired by the contrast between the energy that the nature in Sweden emulates, paired with the serenity that the people embody. It was obvious that we both longed to spend more time in a place that we love!

To create our collaborative piece in the spring of 2015, Kristina and I will explore this duality – buzz vs. calm – chill vs. warmth – energy vs. tranquility.  Through my music, I will start experimenting with contrasting timbres by using a range of mallets, or various instruments that complement each other. I am very excited that Kristina often uses one bold color paired with white in her work – this lends itself to very vibrant imagery that will drive my compositions. We will use both live and recorded music, and get together often in the new year to share each other’s work. For now, we are staring at pictures of our summer adventures and imagining what our project will both LOOK and SOUND like.

Stay tuned for more from Maria and Kristina as their ideas germinate, and we hope you’ll join us in May to see the final product!

Posted: November 6, 2014 | In: Uncategorized