With stark differences between seasons, Finns are used to contrasts. Dark Arctic winters have their counterpart in one of the most iconic of Finnish natural phenomena, the Midnight Sun.
Many wonder how Finns survive with no sunlight in the winter, and nature replies with 24 hours of it in the summer. The intense contrast in light conditions has a profound effect on all walks of life in Finland.
For understandable reasons, public spaces come to life in the summer. After the harsh winter, endless daylight never arrives a day too early. Summer in Finland is a time spent outside the house enjoying the short but sweet season, and all worries are postponed until nights get dark again.
Although the Midnight Sun only shines above the Arctic Circle, nights are white all over the country. Late at night, the sun briefly dips beyond the horizon before rising again, blurring the boundaries between fading night and dawning day.
In the northernmost parts of Finnish Lapland, the sun stays above the horizon for over 70 consecutive days. Below the Arctic Circle, the sun pops below the horizon for a few hours at night. This is not to say it gets dark – white nights are a fact throughout the country, and even Helsinki on the southern coast has virtual daylight around the clock.
The quintessential way to take in the Midnight Sun is at a cottage. Finns love their quietness, and visitors should also experience true northern style relaxation by escaping the daily grind to a peaceful retreat . Some like a different approach. The Midnight Sun extends your day with those extra hours you keep hoping for in your daily life. Make use of it and go hiking, canoeing, fishing or play a round of golf in the wee hours.
An old popular belief in the Midnight Sun mythology is that when a young maiden collects seven flowers under her pillow on Midsummer night – the longest day of the year – her future fiancée will show up in her dreams.
Conquering a fell and watching the endless wilderness bathe in the light of the Midnight Sun continues making indelible impressions on travelers and locals alike.
The best place to experience the Midnight Sun is Finnish Lapland. The Midnight Sun Film Festival (founded by famous filmmaker brothers Kaurismäki) and folklore festival Jutajaiset – both in June – are great ways to enjoy local culture and the Midnight Sun.
In the South, the best time to enjoy the Midnight Sun is around Summer Solstice – go to a Midsummer Party in Seurasaari, Helsinki, for example – it’s an experience you will never forget!
For Finnish children, summer evenings equal no bed time. There is a time for sleeping and it’s called winter – just ask the bears and other mammals that hibernate through most of it.
We say don’t worry about sleep; make the most of the Midnight Sun!
Get inspired, get re-energized, get active – the summer in Northern Lapland equals two months of nights like this. The sound of silence combined with the revitalizing rays of the Midnight Sun is nature’s own remedy for the weary soul.