Midsummer's Eve

Midsummer is an important time for the Finns. It is celebrated around the 21st of June, during the lightest point of the year. The name in Finnish, "Juhannus", comes from John the Baptist, whose commemoration day it is. However, the summer festival dates back to pagan times, and many superstitions and traditions are observed that night. One of these "Midsummer magic tricks" is a tradition according to which young girls must gather nine different flowers and place them under their pillow that night, and they will see their future husband in their dream.

Most Finns spend the summer at a summer cottage, either their own or with friends or family. Big bonfires ("kokko") are lit by the water in the countryside as well as in cities. The saunas are heated up, and people barbeque food and enjoy drinks, light bonfires, dance and sing Finnish songs. It is also popular to go dancing in the countryside, to one of the many traditional "barn dances".

One of the unfortunate things about this holiday is the number of people who drown because they go boating or into the water under the influence of alcohol.