Celebrating Juhannus

Then the Flood came upon the Earth for forty days and the water increased and (…) prevailed more and more so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered.

In the Bible, they called it the Flood, here in Finland, we call it Summer.

 

It’s been raining for a week

and it doesn’t really show signs that it would stop anytime soon. One of the most basic things you learn in Finland is that there is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.

 

We just celebrated Juhannus;

the celebration of the summer solstice. The actual astronomical solstice takes place between June 19 and June 21 (depending on the year, and the local time zone). Juhannus originally is a pagan holiday. All nations and religions around the world are linked to Nature in a way: all of us can tell and feel the difference between the long (in some cases nightless) summer days and the shorter and shorter days, the (almost) endless nights during winter.

 

In Christianity, the midsummer is associated with the Nativity of John the Baptist, and the winter solstice is celebrated as Christmas, the Nativity of Jesus Christ.

The amount (or more specifically, the lack) of sunlight is quite an issue for Nordic people, so no wonder, that in this geographic area Midsummer is one of the most important times, the greatest festival of the year.

 

From the very early, pagan times, lighting a bonfire (kokko in Finnish) is part of the Midsummer tradition. Back then people believed that the great fire will protect them from the evil spirits, when the sunlight is finally gone. When Christianity slowly spread more and more in the Nordic countries, people still wanted to keep their old, own rituals too, so in the passage of the times the pagan Midsummer celebrations stayed and mixed together with the Christian festive customs.

juhannuskokko

 

Over the years the Juhannus traditions might have changed a bit, but people are still as thankful and appreciative of the sunny hours up here, as they used to be hundreds of years ago.

savusauna

 

In practice

it means that the mighty Finns go to their mökkis (summer cottage), warm up their saunas real hot, swim in the lake, grill makkara (Finnish sausage)

lake

 

And they might drink some beer or lonkero (traditional Finnish long drink, similar to gin&tonic). Might. Even if it’s raining. Even if it’s sataa kuin Esterin perseestä.

I have never seen sooo many people having grill parties in the rain in their raincoats and plastic boots. The Finnish sisu, the self-awareness, confidence and the willpower do not know fear or objection. If they want to grill, they will grill, no matter what.

Juhannus

Juhannus – expectation vs reality

 

Hyvää Juhannusta kaikille!

Happy Midsummer to you all!! Aaaand from now we are officially closer to winter, there is just x days until Christmas

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