Midsummer in Finland 22nd June 2024: Everything You Need to Know

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Midsummer in Finland is a mesmerizing blend of ancient traditions and contemporary festivities, where the sun barely sets, and nature is in full bloom.

If you will be in Finland during Midsummer 2024 and looking for tips to celebrate it like the Finns, here’s everything you need to know!

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What is Midsummer Eve?

Midsummer Eve is celebrated in June (usually around 20th-24th), typically marking the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year. This vibrant festival is fantastic to participate in around Europe, especially in the Nordics.

The “Eve” refers to the evening or day before the actual Midsummer Day. The holiday has roots in ancient, especially pagan, traditions and is often linked with the celebration of the sun, fire, and nature.

In 2023, Midsummer Day is on 22nd June, and Midsummer Eve is on 21st June.

Why Celebrate Midsummer in Finland?

Finnish summers are known for their “nightless nights.” In the southern part of Finland, the sun disappears only briefly, while in the north, daylight can last 24 hours. On the flip side, winter days are very short; in some places in the North, it can even be dark all day during the middle of winter.

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The ancient celebrations are tied to honouring Ukko, the Finnish god of weather and harvest, to ensure a robust harvest come autumn.

Known locally as Juhannus, this annual celebration is rooted in both pagan and Christian traditions and is a vital part of Finnish culture.

Folklore dictates that the louder the celebrations, the further away evil spirits will be driven. The tradition has stood the test of time – Finns and visitors alike gather to party through the “white night.”

During Midsummer, the country’s outdoor spaces come to life with bonfires, open-air dance parties, night swims and traditional Finnish saunas. It’s a time when the Finnish landscape, draped in almost perpetual daylight, opens up to a festive display of joy, community, and nature appreciation.

Many Finns head to their summer cottages to enjoy the solstice; however, from the peaceful countryside to serene islands on the Finnish archipelago, there are many ways to celebrate Midsummer across Finland. 

As a visitor, partaking in Juhannus will provide an authentic and unforgettable glimpse into Finnish culture.

Here’s what you could experience in Finland during the midsummer festivities!

Read More: Facts About Finland

Enjoy Traditional Bonfires

Bonfires are a key part of the Finnish Midsummer celebrations. Even though it’s cool at night, people light these big fires, known as ‘kokko’, to stay warm while they’re outside.

The tradition of lighting bonfires started a long time ago. People believed it would keep away any bad spirits and help to bring a good harvest in the fall.

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Get Closer to Nature During Midsummer Eve

Finland’s stunning natural beauty shines in its full glory during Midsummer Eve, providing an array of nature activities. You can embark on a midnight sun hike, take a leisurely canoe trip, go bird watching, or relax in the serene surroundings.

There are plenty of family-friendly activities, too, especially at this time of year when temperatures are warmer than in the winter months. Fishing is also a popular activity during midsummer.

Enjoy a Traditional Finnish Sauna 

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Is there a more renowned way of celebrating in Finland than with a sauna? The Midsummer sauna (or Juhannussauna) has been an integral part of Midsummer celebrations for generations.

The ritual of heating the sauna and using a traditional vihta, made from birch branches, to gently whack the back of those taking part is an important part of the sauna experience.

Nicknamed the sauna vihita, it is believed to promote relaxation and rejuvenation whilst encouraging a feel-good vibe in the sauna.

Discover the Powers of Fresh Birch 

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The Finnish name for traditional Midsummer birch is Juhannuskoivu and is used for both decoration and steeped in age-old beliefs in the power the plant holds.

The Finnish custom involves the birch being cut down and hung on front doors during Midsummer; the tree branches were used to keep evil spirits away and bring good health to the household. In modern day Finland, birch is used more for decoration than ancient rituals. 

Did you know that Finland has some of the best national parks in Europe?

Uncover Magical Rituals 

Magic rituals, or juhannustaika, are one of the oldest traditions of Finnish Midsummer. It is believed that rituals for Midsummer are particularly powerful, with many focussed on finding the perfect match.

Examples of old Finnish rituals involve young women picking seven different wildflowers from a field and placing them under a pillow – according to ancient folklore, the face of their true love will appear in their dreams that night. 

When is Midsummer Eve in Finland 2024?

Midsummer Eve will be celebrated on 22nd June 2024.

. Festivities begin on Midsummer Eve and continue until Midsummer Day. While events take place across the country, the archipelago and lake districts provide some of the most picturesque settings. These regions, studded with traditional Finnish summer cottages, known as ‘mökki’, turn into hubs of celebration.

Midsummer Eve Elsewhere in Europe

Midsummer Eve celebrations can be found throughout Europe, with each country offering its unique twist to the festivities.

You May Also Like: Family Europe Winter Packing List Guide: 101 Essential Items

Midsummer Eve in Sweden

rover near road and buildings

In Sweden, Midsummer Eve is one of the year’s most important holidays, almost comparable to Christmas. It’s a time when Swedes head to the countryside to their summer houses, similar to the Finnish tradition.

Traditional activities include decorating the maypole (midsommarstång) with flowers and leaves, around which people sing and dance.

Folk games, traditional foods like pickled herring, new potatoes, and the first strawberries of the season, along with a flavoured schnapps, make it a day to remember.

Midsummer Eve in Norway and Denmark

In Norway and Denmark, the holiday is known as Sankthansaften (St. John’s Eve).

Bonfires, a significant part of the celebration, were initially intended to ward off evil spirits but are now mostly a reason to come together and celebrate.

Traditional foods, songs, and dances are also part of the festivities.

Midsummer Eve in the United Kingdom

people gathering near gray concrete pillar during daytime

The UK has various celebrations across its regions. England’s Stonehenge is a popular spot where people gather to see the sunrise on the Summer Solstice. In parts of Northern England, the Celtic tradition of lighting large bonfires is still observed.

Scotland hosts the Edinburgh International Festival around midsummer, while in Wales, people often attend folk festivals and concerts.

Midsummer Eve in Spain

gray concrete tower beside house

In Spain, particularly in Catalonia and Valencia, the night of Saint John (Noche de San Juan) coincides with the summer solstice. Huge bonfires (Hogueras) are lit, around which people gather for food, drinks, and celebration.

It’s traditional to throw into the fire pieces of paper where you’ve written down things you want to get rid of from the past year. Fireworks and firecrackers are also a significant part of the celebrations.

Midsummer Eve in Latvia

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The Latvian midsummer festival, known as “Jāņi” (John’s Day), begins on Midsummer Eve. It’s the most important annual celebration in Latvia. Families and friends gather to celebrate with songs, dances, bonfires, and traditional foods, including a special type of cheese made with caraway seeds.

Plan Your Trip to Finland

Don’t forget to plan ahead when visiting Europe for Easter.

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🛏️ Find the perfect place to stay with Booking.com,

…or discover your perfect holiday home 🏨 with VRBO

🚗 Find the best car rental deals with Discover Cars

🎫 Book amazing tours and tickets with Get Your Guide

More on Finland

Cities in Finland

Nuuksio National Park

Ruska Season in Finland

Facts About Finland

National Parks in Europe

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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.