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Suomalainen Juhannus: Kesäyön taikaa ja perinteitä

Finnish Midsummer: magic and traditions of the summer night

Midsummer's Eve, also known as the mid-summer festival, is one of Finland's most beloved celebrations. This article introduces you to the celebration of Midsummer, presents Finnish Midsummer traditions, and offers tips on how to create the perfect Midsummer atmosphere at home or at the cottage.

The history of Midsummer's Eve

Midsummer is an ancient celebration that has its roots in both Christian and pagan traditions. Originally dedicated to the summer solstice, it has been linked over time to the birthday of John the Baptist.

Midsummer traditions in Finland

Midsummer in Finland is full of different traditions, many of which are related to the celebration of nature and summer. Bonfires, saunas, boating and midsummer nights are an integral part of the celebration. There are also regional differences, in southern Finland Midsummer may be celebrated around a decorated maypoll. Flower wreaths, on the other hand, are used all over Finland.

Midsummer food: delicacies for the summer table

The Midsummer table is full of seasonal delicacies. There are often barbecues, new potatoes, herring and other summer flavours.

One of the most popular Midsummer delicacies is grilled sausage, often served with mustard. For many people, sausage is an essential part of the Midsummer celebrations and is usually cooked on the barbecue. The Finnish Midsummer table is not complete without boiled new potatoes, usually served with butter and dill. New potatoes have a light flavour and are perfect for a summer day.

Herring and gravlax are traditional Midsummer delicacies that taste particularly good with new potatoes. Fresh strawberries are a key part of the Midsummer celebrations. They are often served on their own, in strawberry cake or dipped in cream. Strawberries symbolise the beginning of summer and their sweetness adds the perfect finishing touch to a Midsummer meal.

Midsummer in town vs. at the cottage

Many Finns prefer to spend Midsummer at their own cottage in peace and quiet, but it is also celebrated in cities. Nowadays, cities organise midsummer dances or other unifying celebrations. But if you happen to be in one of Finland's biggest cities during Midsummer, you'll find that the streets feel deserted.