Finnish Midsummer – Mezza estate

Ciao a tutti e buon estate! Happy and sunny summer to everyone! Today I will tell you about the Finnish summer and especially the biggest festivity during this season.

One of the biggest celebrations in Finland is Midsummer that is fixed at the next weekend after the summer solstice. Finnish midsummer includes, for example, a midsummer sauna with birch twigs, a midsummer bonfire or pyre and midsummer dances. Many Midsummer traditions have their roots in the old European celebration of light and fertility during the summer solstice. Midsummer has long been associated with various beliefs and spells aimed at securing the coming harvest and happiness of marriage.

Midsummer is the official flag day in Finland, the Finnish flag day. Unlike other flagging days, flagging starts already at 18.00 on Midsummer’s Eve and continues overnight continuously until 21.00 on Midsummer’s Day. Midsummer is also a church holiday (Finland is not a laic country). In Åland and the Finnish-Swedish coastal area, the tradition also includes midsummer stalls (midsommarstång or majstång in swedish) decorated with leaves and flowers. 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. Midsummer is for a reason also the celebration of the endless summer light, after a harsh and dark winter. Summer in general in Finland is a spectacular time of the year. For those who go to north of the Arctic Circle, the sun does not set at all from May to August, while further south the sun can be visible for nearly around the clock during June and July.

In Finland usually everything (shops, restaurants, bars, supermarkets, libraries, public transport etc.) is very widely open, sometimes even 24/7 but during Midsummer, everything – and I mean everything – closes. You will not get food, drinks, taxi becomes the only transport available, and the cities will empty completely. Everyone heads to the countryside on a summer cottage, often by the lake or the sea with friends or family. Barbecuing, fishing and boating have later become standard Midsummer pastimes while enjoying cottage life. Unfortunately this holiday is also the possibility for many to use a lot of alcohol and due to this, every Midsummer around 10-20 people drown (this is sometimes a thing we bet on; “how many will drown this year?” – I know, a horrible game and therefore I encourage you to use alcohol responsibly so you don’t take part in these statistics). 

Also, the usual subject before Midsummer is the weather, because it can be anything between 5 to 30 degrees. The ordinary joke is that the weather is better at Christmas 6 months later than during Midsummer which happened last 2 years ago. This year they were fortunate to reach 30 degrees in order to fully enjoy the countryside life, nature and Finnish summer.

To finish, here are some of my favorite Midsummer spells:

Tie a bath whisk
Bath whisks are always made for the Midsummer sauna. You simply cannot bath in sauna without it. They are usually made out of birch because its fresh leaves are soft and have a lovely smell. For your magic spell, the Midsummer whirsk should be made out of eight different tree and flower types. After the sauna, throw the whisk on the roof of the sauna (especially on the countryside and at summer cottages, saunas are separate buildings). Climb up after it and look where the stem of whisk points. That is the direction from which your future fiancé will come.
(P.s. The birch whisks are frozen in summer so that during winter you can buy a “fresh” whisk from the supermarket.)

Roll in dew
If you roll around naked in a wheat field, your future husband will appear in your life within a year. Dew was believed to have a healing effect and rolling in it was supposed to make you beautiful and healthy.

Collect seven flowers
Collect seven different types of flowers from as many meadows. When going to bed, put the bouquet under your pillow and you will see “the one” in your dream.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write a comment, I’d be glad to give you some more tips and information!

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