Midsummer in Finland

Midsummer is seen as the official beginning of summer and the warm sunny weather. It is one of the main national holidays in Finland and many Finns start their summer holidays on Midsummer Eve. The Midnight Sun is a key element in the festivities, Midsummer being the lightest day of the year when it’s hard to tell when the night ends and a new day starts.

Midsummer is a magical summer holiday when the sun never sets

Midsummer is originally a celebration of the summer solstice and carries many traditions. Finns typically spend it with friends and family at a summer cottage away from the city, either partying or relaxing. Sauna bathing and swimming, barbecuing, fishing and boating are an essential part of cottage life but the Midsummer weekend can be spent in many different ways.

Midsummer has always been a time of spiritual rituals with many mystical meanings to it. Originally a pagan celebration, it was a tribute to the god of thunder 'Ukko'. Since he controlled the rain, one had to be nice to him in order to ensure a good harvest. In the olden days, bonfires were lit during Midsummer to keep evil spirits away. Many Midsummer spells were cast and other ceremonies with hopes of increasing fertility and finding a future spouse were long part of the Midsummer celebrations. One of them being the tradition of collecting seven different flowers and placing them under your pillow in order to dream about your future husband - a tradition that continues to live today.

Today’s celebrations also include bonfires and other traditions, but mainly without the spiritual meanings behind them. In the Swedish-speaking areas of Finland putting up a maypole decorated with fresh flowers is a tradition that can be seen during Midsummer.

Midsummer spent in the city or the country side - there is no right or wrong

Some choose to spend Midsummer in the city in the nearly magical and eerie atmosphere that the empty streets create. Midsummer is the time of friends and family with party traditions that run deep. Good food, music and dancing all night long are essential parts of the celebrations of the longest day of the year.

We wish you all a very warm and lovely Midsummer!

Read more: Visit Finland, Lonely Planet, This is Finland
Photos by Suvi Kesäläinen

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