Baltic Centennial Midsummer on June 23 at DuPont Circle
The Embassies of the three Baltic countries invite everyone to DuPont Circle Park on June 23 to join in celebrating Midsummer, one of the most awaited holidays of the year. Midsummer marks the longest day and the shortest night of the year, signifying the sun’s victory against night and darkness. The Midsummer celebration, which predates the arrival of Christianity in the Baltic region, is known as Joninės in Lithuania, as Jāņi in Latvia and as Jaanipäev in Estonia. The strong and enduring pagan connection to nature has influenced both ancient beliefs and the modern cultures of the Baltic people.
Often referred to as the ‘Christmas of the summer’, Midsummer is a celebration enjoyed by the whole family. Many Lithuanians, Estonians and Latvians celebrate Midsummer by getting together with friends and family, wearing traditional clothes, eating traditional foods, staying up all night dancing and singing until sunrise. During Midsummer afternoon, people roam the fields and meadows picking wild flowers for making wreaths that they later bring to a river bank and set afloat on the water. After sunset, the search for the legendary fern flower which is believed to only bloom at midnight begins. Traditionally people begin their search for the fern flower in the woods alone, but it is common for them to return as couples. No Midsummer is ever complete without a roaring bonfire with enthusiasts leaping over it - believed to bring them better health for the coming year.
This June, a number of traditional Baltic Midsummer activities will be shared with Washingtonians at everyone's favorite outdoor gathering spot: DuPont Circle Park. Midsummer is one of many cultural events that the embassies of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are presenting this year as part of their Centennial celebration that mark their modern statehoods and long lasting partnership with the United States.
In collaboration with the DuPont Festival, the three Baltic Embassies will be offering a variety of workshops for both adults and kids in addition to traditional songs, dances and games. Make sure to bring your friends and family!