Summer in Finland could be in fact the best time to be in Finland. Midsummer being the highlight of the summer and the most memorable Finnish holiday after Christmas. Finnish people love to spend Juhannus with family or friends, preferably at a summer cottage near a sauna and the option to grill and swim in a lake. I think Juhannus sums up the Finnish experience well and what we are as Finns: spending the holiday far away from strangers, enjoying our privacy and peace with our close ones. It is no surprise that almost every activity is performed naked, since Finns are comfortable spending time in the Sauna or even swimming with other people naked. For many of us Finns, this is a norm.
We even have traditional magic rituals performed during the night on Midsummer’s Day, usually doing them for luck in future marriages/love. Some of the rituals require collecting flowers, rolling in a field or running laps around the field, some of them require “juhannuskokko” aka midsummer bonfire but the most preferable step often is to be again naked to improve the luck of finding love.
Nature is very important to many Finns and the lifestyle and mindsets in Finland are very nature centered. A way we often connect with nature and can be close with nature is foraging which is in fact a popular pastime here. There is so much to forage from nature: mushrooms, wild greens and herbs and berries, my personal favorite being mushrooms.
We have a rule also regarding picking up berries and mushrooms: “Everyman’s rights” (jokamiehen oikeudet, in Finnish) which allows you to pick freely from any spot of the forest. Although good and fruitful spots as we would call them “apajat” to forage are family secrets passed down from generation to generation, not even telling neighbors of these treasure spots. The route is often a bumpy road into the middle of the forest and we navigate with the most cryptic guides. It could be a broken branch of a tree or a very big rock that we know where to turn, and there we have it: a lush spot with mushrooms. So if a Finn is telling you a specific spot to forage with the utmost specific guiding, it’s a true friendship and that Finn trusts you.