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Visit Finland: Everything you need to know about Midsummer

Article published
22.6.2023 at 08:08
Vene rannassa koivun alla.
Midsummer is Finland’s main national holiday. A celebration of the summer solstice, it’s typically spent with friends and family at a summer cottage away from the city.

Finland is known for its summertime “white nights,” and Midsummer’s is the whitest of them all. Viewed as the official start of warm weather, Midsummer Eve at the end of June is when many Finns kick off their summer holidays.

The midnight sun plays a major role in the festivities in the northern parts of Finland, but it doesn’t actually get dark in the south, either.

What do Finns do on Midsummer?

Historically, Midsummer was a popular time for weddings, and many people cast fertility or love spells. These days, lighting bonfires and bathing in saunas are popular ways to celebrate. Barbecuing, fishing and boating are also standard pastimes for those who spend midsummer at a country cottage.

In the olden days, bonfires (or “kokko”) were lit during Midsummer to keep evil spirits away and ensure a good harvest.

Spells and folklore

Midnight Sun mythology is a huge part of Finnish folklore. Most beliefs centre on the longest day of the year, Midsummer (or “Juhannus”), at the end of June.

One popular story, for example, involves a young maiden who puts seven flowers under her pillow on Midsummer night, resulting in her future fiancée appearing in her dreams.

Midsummer parties and midnight swims

Midsummer party traditions run deep, and countless events and festivals are held all over Finland.

Young people in cities have revived the open-air Midsummer dance traditions. In Helsinki, they mostly take place away from the city centre, such as on Seurasaari Island.

Since it’s hard to tell when the night’s over, parties often last well into the wee hours, and many cap them off with a nighttime swim with friends.

Source: Article by Visit Finland and the article's photo by Visit Finland.