A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Juhannus (or midsummer) is big in Finland. We spent the weekend in the countryside in Central Finland, where we went kayaking and rowing…

… cycled and walked in the woods…

… took a leisurely boat ride across still waters, past several summer cabins…

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… before arriving at a cabin by a lake, hidden in the woods – with the traditional birch branches outside (also used to beat yourself with in the sauna). Finding seven different types of flowers and placing them under your pillow as you go to bed on midsummer’s night is supposed to make you dream of your future spouse. We only found six on this occasion.

From early evening until late at night, families and communities gather around bonfires by the water. Originally, the fires were thought to keep away evil spirits.

An essential part of juhannus celebrations is the sauna (the traditional wood burning being the best kind), ideally situated right by the lake.

Taking a sauna is interspersed with swimming then repeated several times, often for hours, well into the night.

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Our final swim was at around 1am, when you could see the mist hovering above the surface…

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