Midsummer (in Finnish: juhannus) is the second biggest celebration in Finland, just after Christmas. This ancient carousal takes place in the second last weekend of June. It was originally held to honour Ukko, the king of the gods in the Finnish mythology. Ukko (just like Zeus and Jupiter) was the god of thunder and rain. Thus, a good harvest was hoped by his elated mood.
Nowadays, I think Midsummer celebrates summer and the longest days of the year. During Midsummer week the time of sun being down is minimal. That being said, naturally in Lapland, the sun does not go down at all. Gloomy Finnish people say that after Midsummer, the summer is over, referring to the shortening daytime. Technically complete correct but an utterly depressing statement as the summer weather and the holiday season just starts after Midsummer.
At Midsummer, everybody tries to escape from city to summer cottage. Eating and drinking well, burning a bonfire and enjoying sauna are a must at Midsummer Eve. Hands down the most exceptional thing about Midsummer is the magic. It is the only time in a Finnish year when you are able to do spells, even as an adult, and nobody looks you like you are a weirdo (which you are, of course, but that is a different story). Midsummer, you see, is all about love. And not just love in general, but finding your true love and future spouse.
Couple of Midsummer spells to try if you are a woman and in Finland:
- If you hear a cuckoo at night, the number of cuckoos you hear is the equivalent of the number of years it takes for you to find your future husband. If you don’t hear a cuckoo at all, it means he arrives this year.
- When you pick seven different flowers and put them under your pillow, you will see your future husband in your dreams.
- When you go naked to the beach or the well and gaze at your reflection, you will see your future husband appearing.
- You can see your future spouse when you swim to a lake rock, sit there and wait for him to show up to the shore.
What a time to be a man in Finland! The majority of love spells involve naked women in public places: fields, beaches and yards. It makes me laugh to think about what a common effort it must have been back in the days for Finnish men to make this party a tradition. And they succeeded! If we would use the same effort to market Finnish products and know-how, there are no limits how successful our little country could be.
Magical Midsummer to everybody!