Finland is well-known for its enchanting nature, forests, and cold weather. In winter, there is little daylight and the whole country is veiled in darkness for most of the day, which gives the impression of long evenings and nights.
All that is compensated for when the summer comes, as the days get longer and longer and the sun hardly sets at all. This phenomenon is known as Nightless night, Polar day, or Midnight Sun, and it creates the perfect set-up for experiencing and enjoying Finland to the fullest. A common effect of the Midnight Sun is that it reduces the need for sleep, boosting the positivity and vitality in most people. With so much light during the extended summer days and the energy level set so high, those living or visiting Finland can enjoy numerous activities like hiking, biking, picking berries, fishing, kayaking & canoeing, or simply chilling outside. Also, the Polar days are a synonym for various summer festivals, held across the country under never-ending sunshine.
Although the real midnight sun can only be seen beyond the Arctic Circle, the nights are “white” across the whole country. Night daylight is present for almost 2 months every year. This also applies to the capital city of Helsinki on the southern coast, where the people have nearly continuous daylight day and night in that season of the year. Late at night, the sun disappears below the horizon for a short time, only to rise again soon after, blurring the line between the ending night and the morning dawn. So in southern Finland, the sun does set, but there is still no darkness at night.
The brightest time of the year is marked by the summer solstice celebration - one of the biggest events for Finns, known in Finland as Juhannus (Midsummer). It represents the real beginning of the summer season and generally gives the start to the summer holidays. It is also a time of magic, filled with many beliefs and old traditions, that are followed even to the present times.
If you are in Finland around this end-of-June holiday, one thing that you will definitely not be able to miss is the multiple series of bonfires. This long tradition is based on the legend that says that on this day all evil spirits visit the Earth to shake up honest Christians. And the bonfires help drive these evil spirits away. This tradition has survived until today, with a slight modification.
Juhannus always falls on a Saturday, in the period between the 20th and 26th of June. This year (2022) it is on the 24th of June. It’s a celebration of the longest day of the year, which the Finns mark with singing and dancing. People usually visit their relatives and leave the cities for the country, where they enjoy their days off. They have barbecues, enjoy saunas, go fishing, and do other activities together to welcome the coming summer.
After this holiday, agricultural work usually starts and early evening festivals and other entertainments are a symbol of crop abundance and a good harvest next year.
In the past, Juhannus celebrations were very frequent and popular among the Balto-Slavic nations. Today, this tradition has only survived in Finland, some of the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, as well as in the northern regions of Russia. However, Western traditions continue displacing local folk customs and many people now prefer spending Juhannus on Suomenlinna island near Helsinki instead of singing around bonfires.
Whether you would like to get emersed into the mystical and magical Midsummer (Juhannus) celebration or dive into countless activities during the “white nights” season, Finland is a great place to be in the summer.
Topics: Life in Finland