Ticket to Adventures

Travel blog from around the world, near and far.

Midsummer Magic in Finland

30 Comments

Originally a celebration of the summer solstice, Midsummer (juhannus in Finnish) taking place at the end of June, is today the main national holiday in Finland. Midsummer is the celebration of the summer, light and the long white nights, also called the nightless nights, as the sun barely sets below the horizon.

Finland_Midsummer_white_night_10

Midsummer is often seen as the beginning of warm summer weather as many Finns start their summer holidays on Midsummer Eve. People leave offices and workplaces early on Thursday afternoon and flee to the countryside.

This means that all cities are practically empty and atmosphere is eerie. All shops, supermarkets, restaurants and other amenities close for Midsummer. Wandering the city streets all alone is an exceptional feeling as everyone else has left for the long weekend. Before reaching our destination we drive very small and narrow countryside roads in the middle of the forest. Often we encounter wild animals such as foxes, rabbits, raccoons and elks.

Midsummer is typically spent away from the city with friends and family at a holiday house or a summer cottage by a lake, either relaxing or partying. Colourful flowers and branches from birch trees are placed on both sides of the front door to welcome guests.

Regular Midsummer pastimes in the countryside include lots of simple and relaxing things:

Sitting by the lake listening to silence. All you can hear is nothing. Only birds singing.

Walking on the fields picking wild flowers.

Wandering in the forest.

Rowing a boat and fishing on the lake.

Finland_Midsummer_lake_rowing Barbecuing sausages, fish, chicken, vegetables etc. Lots of traditional summer food, salads, fruits, pancakes, with drinks such as beer, cider and wine.

Finland_Midsummer_barbeque Bathing in the sauna.

The sauna is heated up with firewood cut down from own forest.

Making bath whisks (vihta/vasta in Finnish) with birch twigs. They are used in the sauna to spice up the experience. The idea is very simple: take fresh birch twigs, tie them together and slap yourself with them while bathing to enhance blood circulation and the effect of the heat. The smell of the fresh whisks is gorgeous.

After the sauna we take a refreshing swim in the lake.

And enjoy the hot tub. Then back to sauna, swimming and hot tub. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat again. Until it is midnight.

Although there is plenty of light during Midsummer, one of the key traditions is to light a bonfire (kokko in Finnish) to dispel evil spirits and to ensure a good crop come time for harvesting.

Finland_Midsummer_bonfireAn important feature of the midsummer in Finland is the white nights and the midnight sun. Because of Finland’s location around the Arctic Circle the nights at Midsummer are short or basically non-existent, so there is daylight around the clock.

Finland_Midsummer_white_night_05 In the northernmost parts of the Finnish Lapland, the sun stays above the horizon for over 70 consecutive days. In southern Finland the sun sets at 22:50 and rises already at 03:50 in the morning. The sun only very briefly pops below the horizon before rising again, blurring the boundaries between fading night and dawning day. This means that the nights are white.

The nightless nights of the Finnish midsummer gives a great contrast to the darkness of the winter. Spending the midsummer white nights outdoors admiring the different colours of the midnight sun set over a lake is so magical and calming.

Finland_Midsummer_white_night_06

Midsummer midnight sun mythology is a well-known part of Finnish folklore. Midsummer has always been considered a very magical time – perfect for performing rituals. Traditionally the majority of midsummer’s magical rituals were connected with love, marriage and relationships. This kind of magic was typically more important to women than men.

A popular belief has to do with a young woman who takes off her clothes and goes up to a well and listens carefully. If she hears a clinking of keys, it means she is to become a mistress of a house. If she hears a baby crying, it means she is to have a child. And if she looks down into the well, she will see the face of her future husband briefly reflected in the water. Rolling around naked in a dewy field means that you will have good luck with marriage. Another popular belief is to collect seven wild flowers and place them under the pillow on Midsummer night, as a result the future fiancé will show up in the dreams.

Did you like this blog post? Read more about Finland:

Helsinki: 6 Unique Summer Cafes

Sunset Splendour in Helsinki

Helsinki: Secret Adventures in Kruunuvuori Ghost Town

Fifty Shades of Autumn in Helsinki

Finland: Frosty Fairytales in White Winter Wonderland

Enchanted by Spring Sunshine in Finland

Picturesque Medieval Old Town of Porvoo

 

Advertisements

Author: Ticket to Adventures

Captivating travel stories from around the world, near and far, by an experienced traveller and adventurer.

30 thoughts on “Midsummer Magic in Finland

  1. Love Finnish summers and Midsummer is my favourite celebration!

    Like

  2. Beautiful photos. I’ve always dreamed of seeing those “white nights” where the sun doesn’t set.

    Like

    • Thank you. Nightless nights are so magical. Again this summer I find myself full of energy day and night not needing as much sleep as during wintertime. Hope you get to experience the magic of white nights soon!

      Like

  3. This is so interesting! I had no idea that midsummer was so celebrated in Finland. I REALLY wanted to go to Finland when I lived in Europe but didn’t get the chance. This makes me want to visit so badly!

    Like

    • Thank you for your kinds words. Yes, Midsummer is the second most important holiday and party after Christmas in Finland. Cannot wait for the upcoming midsummer weekend! Hope you get to visit Finland soon.

      Like

  4. Pingback: Sensational Shades of Snow in Finland | Ticket to Adventures

  5. Pingback: Snowy Postcards from White Winter Wonderland of Finland | Ticket to Adventures

  6. Pingback: Myth of the Midnight Sun in Finland | Ticket to Adventures

  7. Pingback: Helsinki: Traditional Midsummer Celebrations at Seurasaari Island | Ticket to Adventures

  8. Pingback: Sunset Splendour in Helsinki | Ticket to Adventures

  9. Pingback: Enchanted by Spring Sunshine in Finland | Ticket to Adventures

  10. Pingback: Finland: Frosty Fairytales in White Winter Wonderland | Ticket to Adventures

  11. I would love to visit Finland one day. Your photos are beautiful and we’ll captured.

    Thanks for sharing

    Like

  12. Pingback: Picturesque Medieval Old Town of Porvoo | Ticket to Adventures

  13. Beautiful Finlandia! Lots of memories of that nice country.

    Like

  14. What a beautiful place and captured so well with your camera. It’s very different to where I live! 🙂

    Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s