Midsummer what is that ? . . For Finnish people it’s kinda second Christmas just it’s at summer and there is no giving presents. It’s one highlight in the year when you get together with family or friends and have nice time. Under some most popular ways to spend it or tradition from this midsummer fest maybe even some nice midsummer magic.
It’s summer time in Finland and every year is summer of love … maybe you have hear about long dark winters in Finland and then we have this long summer with light. What you think that light is doing for us here .. I can tell.. mostly we are getting back to life and how to say hormones are starting to do their job. So is it surprising that at midsummer (=juhannus) there is nice time to propose your love one or getting to married? Or find some love of your life or just love for midsummer time? Any way it’s one really good time to get love and spread love. Also alcohol is one big love for finnish people’s too .. good or bad thing depends who you will ask about it.
Ok so those traditions or popular ways to spend midsummer in random order..
Mökki (summer cottage) : If you have chance to get to one probably you will do that. With family or with seconds family so with friends. If you don’t have your own then remember you can always rent it too! Finland is full of mökki near by lakes or sea but also at dry lands. In some places you can find mökki villages and normally those places are full of people’s at midsummer time. What to do if you find yourself self from mökki spending time at midsummer?
Normaly there is holly triangle of mökki life: good food and drinks (alcohol or without .. normally with)- sauna and swimming (if it’s possible) – nice time with games or with drinking games. So every group have their own tradition what to do but normally like Christmas time you eat just too much and many days same food. Drinking beer,sider, Longdrinks, drinks, Schnaps or just from bottle 30-40% alcohol .. ok there is always some exceptions and then there is also non alcohol options too. But for some reason alcohol is quite big part of this fest.
Sauna is anything what have to do because normally in every mökki have one or two saunas. Many people have asked if there can go with beer or any other drinks .. normally you do so… so yes you can! (And yes you will come more drunk and more faster too .. normaly) other things is if you have chance to go swimming you should do that too even if water is cold.. ok after 2% drunkness you don’t even feel that water is cold or you comonsen is left out of your head and you do it anyway.
Probably after three days your memory is little bit shaky but still you think you had time of yor life!! And if you were sober all the time with family maybe you had good and nice relaxing time, over eaten but still you are happy.
Festivals: Normally music ones and this are helded around of finland so you have options where to choose. Have you ever been at festivals? So options for living / “sleeping” is normally camping, hotels/ hostels or mökki.. at least in Finland. Mökki life is same as uper explained.. just different is that you go some times listen to music and do other things what you do at festivals.
Mökki or hotels/ hostels could be best options if you like to get little bit comfortable things in your life during festival weekend… Like shower, (breakfast),warm place and more privacy. Although for those it’s still working better in hotels or hostels .. at mökki probably some mökki neighbors are any way coming to visit and half of your own group is in some other mökki. So privacy is kinda just myth out there.
Camping are is one big question mark.. what you get from there is big eastern egg and if you are late or any where last choosing your place it could be anything. Any way you can’t decide who will come to be your neighbor tent or with van or any other vehicle where is living area inside. Still I think that those vehicles are more comfortable than tent.. a specially at Finnish summer time. Problem is that you never know what kinda whether you will get ! If it’s warm and sunny you had more luck than you ever know .. maybe you and all other festival people’s should be make lottery! Normally there is coming rain in any point more or less. Second problem is you never know what will rain is it really water raining or is some drunken person just peeing towards your tent. There is always also option that any point of night some nice little bit or little bit more drunken person is falling to on your tent . If this is still fun for you I can recommend to try it even ones in a lifetime. Oh and remember tent is not good place to leave anything important even if you have had some sense to take some lock to there. Can you guess why ?
Ok other things for this is that toilets or anything like that is always full and there is big lines also .. and how about how clean those are … just lovely. Shower.. small tip if you can go shower, try to go first in morning before anyone else because in any point thre is only cold water left. ( why I know.. I have tried that too some point of my life) . If you don’t have such a luxury then remember to take anything how to clean some most important things for you.
Making food by yourself could be little bit challenging so some one time use grill could be good if you are allowed to take it with you or any other traveling cooking set. Other wise take all what you can eat cold and no need to be really in cold. Drinking is also important thing if you remember water some times it’s better for you but probably you will be drunken whole weekend so try to remember take enough alcohol with you. This you will need to survive anyway. Remember that in festival area you can use also some nice food tents to get some grill or other food. Of course there is too those drinking areas “boxes” where you can aslo go drinking. Normally you are not allowed to take your own drinks with you if you are not clever enough to smuggle it anyhow.
At festivals most important thing what you should bring with you is patience, good vibes and small crazynes or little bit more. All should be in good mood and normally they are if they haven’t drink some brawl alcohol..(then try to stay away from those people’s. Ok if you like to fight and get throwed away then you should try it too.) Anyway you will meet many nice people and get some new friends too .. some one could be your new best friend for life or just for 5min but it will be fun anyway! That is maybe the best part beside your favorite bands. Even more friends you could get if you wear any crazy outfits!
Anyway you should survive and probably you have fun way or another. At least one week or one year later you will remember this time to be one of the best midsummer ever so just have fun.
City Juhannus (=midsummer) : Last years this have been getting more popular. Still not the best option but now days ok . Every year ther is little bit more coming some events to city’s that those who don’t want to or can’t go anywhere else have possibility to spend some nice time. For example this year is Finland’s 100 birthday so around of Finland was whole Finland dance events where was also some other happenings around it. Also more some bars are staying open and park or harbor areas are more or less full of people. Specially if there is good whether.
City juhannus is kinda same than others just normally then you are staying at home or friends place. Having good time and surprise surprise eating and drinking. Drinking part could be leaving away if you have work next day ( in finland every shop can choose if they are open or not.. and hospitals and so on working of course). Any way from my two years experience of city juhannus there is more or less young people who haven’t had or want to go any mökki.. other part is more or less familys or older people. Anyway what is common for everyone when you walk outside… most of people are drunk as hell. (Except small child and some random jogger…) from outsider point of view it’s funny to watch how people are behaving when they are drunken but with some people’s it’s also making bad to watch it.
Anyway you make your city juhannus looking your like so it can be what ever. Because most of your neighbors have left out of the building you can play music as loud you like and have your own party. City festivals of your own and you can really choose every song and decide who you will let in to it ! So have again fun and enjoy your private party’s… next good time is again after one year!
Kokko (=Bonfire) : this is one of most oldest tradition for midsummer. Old stories are telling that bonfires were starting to burn to scare evil spirits. Now on I think that have been more forgotten and it’s just nice thing to do together. At citys, festivals, mökki or some villages it’s more or less community thing.
It’s normally little bit bigger or huge bonfire made of any wood stuff … have seen even old boats there to be burned. So one thing if you are lucky enough to get promised to start that fire remember that fuel is good helper but don’t go too close to get it fire … it could be explode and your skin could get fast tanning and after quite fast off!! ( yes have seen that too!!)
- pick up 7 different kinda flowers put it under your pillow and you can see in your dreams your future wife or husband
- If you look to the well or pond in midsummer night naked you can see your future wife or husband
- You can get good luck to marriage if you rolling at dew meadow … again naked
- If you come from sauna naked and walk backwards to the log stack. First wood what your ass is touching tells you what kinda husband you get. If it’s split he is some ones man or widow and if it’s not split he is untouched and will be just yours
- Midsummer bonfire will turn towards that person who will get married soon
- You can dream about your future husband or wife too if your left leg sock are wrong way on it.
Last bu not least big miracles is …
traffic jams: Normaly in Finland’s street there is not so much cars… ok we have only over 5 million people’s here so how could be even so bad ones. (Except maybe in Helsinki area sometimes). Anyway before midsummer and end of midsummer there is coming that big mystery of traffic jams on streets. (Same happens at Christmas time) other wise I have heard from my foreign friends that here is so empty streets always and yes it’s quite true! Big mystery but maybe it’s some magic of two biggest holidays in Finland!
So Welcome to Finland next year to enjoy this magical celebration of summer! Mine were this year quite nice and fun but that is other story! I will come to you with that midsummer part 2 text!
With love : Hennette