Midsummer Madness: Juhannus

The days have more hours and the sun shines even longer. In English, we call this Midsummer. The Finnish have a special word for this called Juhannus. 

Juhannus usually takes place at the end of June, where the daylight intertwines with twilight. Finns normally commence their summer holiday on Midsummer’s Eve. This calls for many Finns to celebrate with bonfires and dips in the lake after going to the sauna. From my experience, people like to barbecue makkarra (sausages) at a mökki (summer cottage). 

According to tradition, young maidens pick seven flowers to put under their pillows during Midsummer Night to get a dream about her future fiancé. Another tradition is that getting drunk and making a lot of commotion drove the bad spirits away. I am not sure if people believe this folktale anymore, but this tradition is still upheld every Midsummer. These festivities last all night long dancing in the streets or around a kokko (bonfire).

Here is a fun tongue twister surrounding a bonfire and its translation:

Kokoo koko kokko kokoon. Koko kokkoko kokoon? Koko kokko kokoon.

Translation: Put together the whole bonfire. The whole bonfire together? The whole bonfire together.

So as you are celebrating the longest night of the year, try pronouncing these phrases without slurring. Have fun and be safe! Happy Midsummer! Hyvää Juhannusta!