Celebrating Midsummer is a big thing in Finland. It is the second biggest celebration after Christmas. The biggest celebrations take place on Midsummer eve, always a Friday. (The Midsummer day that follows is for the most partygoers spent curing a sore head…)
The Midsummer celebrations take place between the Friday and Saturday between the 20th and 26th of June. The week leading up to Midsummer Finland enjoys the longest daylight hours of the year. In the northern parts of Finland, the sun doesn’t go down at all.
There is a sense of magic in the air on Midsummer and it has a lot of folklore and tales associated with it.
Did you know that on Midsummer you can get a premonition of who will be your forever true love? By picking seven different sorts of flowers and placing them under your pillow you might be visited by your future love in your dreams. The picking of the flowers must be done in silence, otherwise the spell will be broken.
Another one you might like to try is to eat seven Baltic herrings without drinking water before bedtime. A glass of water will be brought to you in your dreams by your future love.
For the more daring ones out there to try, is to bend over a well, naked in order to see your future loves reflection at the bottom of the well.
Most Finns leave the cities at Midsummer and head to the countryside. They spend Midsummer at a cottage by the lake, the sea or in the middle of the forest. Celebrating with friends and family. Eating, drinking and sauna bathing together are important parts of the modern-day Midsummer celebrations.
The table is filled with freshly cooked new potatoes, cold- and warm-smoked fish, different kind of herrings, salads and grilled meat. A strawberry cake is usually served as the main dessert as this is the time when the first Finnish strawberries are ready to be plucked and eaten.
To digest the food usually a game of Mölkky, where throwing wooden logs for points, is played followed by hours of sauna bathing and swimming.
In preparation for the sauna, birch twigs are cut and made into a vihta, a kind of a traditional cleansing sauna-whisk. The vihta is used in the sauna to whip oneself, or the person sitting next to you refresh the skin and give the skin and sauna a wonderful birchy aroma.
For those who dare take a cooling dip between the sauna bathing swimming in the nude is a spell bounding Midsummer treat.
Wishing you a magical Midsummer!