The midsummer is known as Juhannus in Finland and it will be celebrated on the coming weekend. Many Finns will head to their summer cottages in the countryside, but some are going to stay in the city or celebrate the midsummer at one of Finland’s many Juhannus festivals. Where ever the midsummer is celebrated, it usually includes some certain traditions, like heating the sauna, eating good food, casting some midsummer’s spells and seeing a “kokko”, a big bonfire. Juhannus was celebrated already before Christianity landed in Finland and many of the Juhannus traditions have long roots. Do you know why the bonfires are an important part of Finnish Juhannus or why you should roll around naked in a field on midsummer’s night?
Getting rid of the evil spirits
There’s something magical about Juhannus, no question. Way back when it was really believed that midsummer is a magical moment when spirits are going to show up. Therefore many of Finnish Juhannus traditions have something to do with getting rid of the evil spirits. The cleansing that going to sauna provides was seen as something almost supernatural and therefore sauna was the place where people tried to expel the spirits. Normally it was done by flailing birch twigs. It’s still common to use “vihta”, a bunch of birch twigs, in a Finnish sauna to gently beat yourself with in order to relax the muscles and to soothe mosquito bites, and in Juhannus sauna vihta is a must! Also, the flames of Juhannus kokko were believed to chase away the evil spirits.
Especially young women have been casting love spells and doing midsummer’s magic from the beginning of times, and some of these rituals are still alive. If you are a single woman, after getting rid of the spirits in Juhannus sauna, throw the vihta to the roof of the sauna. According to the legend, the stem of the vihta will show you the direction where you will find your future husband. If you want to be absolutely sure about the direction, pay attention into which direction the smoke from the Juhannus kokko rises. After knowing the whereabouts of your future husband, it’s, of course, easier to find him if you know how he looks like – collect 7 different flowers from 7 different fields and place them under your pillow on midsummer’s night and you will meet your future husband in your dream. This doesn’t guarantee that you will find the man of your dreams soon, though, so just to be sure, roll around naked in a field on Juhannus night, and the man will show up before next Juhannus.
Spending time together
Juhannus is a celebration when friends and families are gathering together and having a good time. So it was already centuries ago. Even though Juhannus kokko’s purpose was also to expel the evil spirits, it’s main purpose, anyhow, was to bring the whole village together. Going to Juhannus dances is a still living tradition with long roots, too.
As a Finnish company, Appchieve is, of course, also celebrating the midsummer. You can now find some Juhannus traditions as achievements in our app. So, if you are going to go to a Juhannus sauna, dance with your friends in the nightless night or cast some midsummer’s spells, verify and share your experiences in Appchieve and you will earn some experience points and advance to higher levels in the game of your life on the same go. You can find all the Juhannus tradition achievements under the category “Finnish Midsummer” on Appchieve’s Achievement Catalogue. If you manage to complete them all, you will earn the title of the “Juhannusjuhlija”, a person who is celebrating Juhannus in Finnish, which you can add to your profile as a memory of the unforgettable midsummer’s celebration.
Under the “Finnish Events” category you will find festivals and other events in Finland’s summer, also at Juhannus. If you are going to spend the Juhannus in Helsinki, you could join the traditional Juhannus celebration at Seurasaari Island or attend Hernesaaren rannan juhannus or Stadin juhannus midsummer’s parties where you can hear some of Finland’s top artists play. There are of course several Juhannus festivals held around Finland, of which some are big, 3-day festivals with international artists. So if you are going to spend your Juhannus partying at RMJ festival, Himos, Kalajoki or Tahko, for example, remember to verify your location in Appchieve!
Now, let’s just hope that the sun will shine throughout the nightless night, even though a little rain (or snow…) has never stopped the celebration. We wish you a cheerful midsummer filled with achievements and traditions!