Midsummer – Go Peaceful or Go Party
Midsummer is a main national holiday in Finland. Originally a celebration of the summer solstice, it is typically spent with friends and family at a summer cottage away from the city, either partying or relaxing.
Midsummer is often seen as the beginning of warm summer weather and many Finns start their summer holidays on Midsummer Eve.
Taking place at the end of June, the Midnight Sun is a key element in the festivities in the northern parts of Finland. Not that it gets dark in the south, either; nights are white throughout the country.
Lighting bonfires and bathing in saunas are two of the most typical traditions in Midsummer celebrations. Barbecuing, fishing and boating have later become standard Midsummer pastimes while enjoying cottage life.
In the old days, Midsummer spells were cast, many of which had to do with hopes of increasing fertility and finding a future spouse. Midsummer was also a popular time for weddings.
Making noise and getting intoxicated has been part of Midsummer celebrations for ages. According to past beliefs, loud behaviour would bring luck and drive away evil spirits. Some thought the amount of drink consumed in Midsummer would correlate to the magnitude of the crop at the end of summer.
So, Finnish Midsummer party traditions run deep. Today, countless events and festivals are held all over the country, with parties often lasting beyond the wee hours, simply because it’s hard to tell when the night ends and a new day starts!
The urban alternative
Some choose to spend Midsummer in the city. Young people have revived the Midsummer dance tradition, and while it is customary to have them out in the open air, they might take place in trendy clubs these days. Dressing up in a retro manner will score you a few extra points.
Another reason for spending Midsummer in the city is the eerie atmosphere: cities are virtually empty, and roaming the streets all alone is an exceptional feeling – a must for zombie film enthusiasts.
Contrast is the main ingredient in Finnish cultural life, probably because everything looks and sounds different from our northern perspective.