Finnish Midsummer

Halti World Blog

What is a Finnish Midsummer?

As a northern people, we Finns eagerly await the summer – through the long autumn and winter. After the colorful autumn and white winter, the lush summer brings its own magic as Finland's beautiful nature blossoms. "We have to enjoy it while it's summer" is a phrase often heard from Finns.

One of the highlights of summer for Finns is the celebration of midsummer, known as Juhannus. Juhannus is always celebrated on the second-to-last weekend of June, and its planning and preparation are an important part of early summer. Juhannus is one of the most beloved holidays of the year, with many Finns having established traditions for celebrating it. Juhannus is also called the "celebration of the midnight sun," as the sun doesn't set at all or only for a brief moment.

Cities quiet down during Juhannus, as traditionally, people gather at their summer cottages or in their yards with family and friends. A lot of time is spent outdoors, enjoying nature and relaxing with good food and sauna. Sauna culture is strongly present in the midsummer celebration. The Juhannus sauna includes a birch whisk and a dip in the lake. At its best, Juhannus involves sauna sessions both in the morning and evening – we love sauna!

Preparing and enjoying the festive meal is also an important part of Juhannus. Finnish summer delicacies, such as new potatoes, fresh vegetables, herring, and grilled fish or meat, are staples on the midsummer table. Nothing tastes as good as freshly harvested potatoes.

Midsummer Eve culminates in the Juhannus bonfire, a large fire usually lit by the water. The bonfire might be organized by the village community, bringing people together to enjoy the magical midsummer night. According to old beliefs, Juhannus involves various spells and rituals. One of the most famous is to collect seven different flowers and place them under your pillow on midsummer night – it's believed this will reveal your future spouse in a dream.

Particularly in Finland-Swedish traditions, snaps and snaps songs are an integral part of the celebration. These cheerful songs bring the entire party together. For Finland-Swedes, the celebration also includes the Juhannus maypole, which is a pole decorated with flowers, leaves, and ribbons, symbolizing the celebration of summer and the awakening of nature.

A traditional Finnish Juhannus is a combination of nature, traditions, community, and joy, celebrating the height of summer and offering a moment of respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.