Midsummer Day is a public holiday! During the public holidays most of the shops, offices, schools, banks etc. are closed and also the public transport may operate on limited and changed schedules. Please note that there are changes in opening hours and schedules also already on Midsummer Eve!!!
Juhannus comes exactly six months after Christmas, when the interminable nights of winter have given way to the white nights of the Finnish summer.
Midsummer, celebrated at the summer solstice, has been very important since pagan times, especially in northern Europe, where the difference between the dark and the light seasons is particularly dramatic. In the north of Finland, Midsummer marks the peak of the exotic appeal of the Arctic, as the sun remains above the horizon all night.
Midsummer in Finland is a celebration of the countryside. Towns and cities are deserted, as this holiday is traditionally celebrated in a rural setting, preferably at a waterside summer cottage. Anyone who has to stay in town over Midsummer can buy birch leaves and lilac at the marketplace to help create an illusion of the countryside. At Midsummer, trains, buses and trams are sometimes also decorated with birch branches.
Lighting a bonfire (kokko) is the high point of Midsummer night. Midsummer fires are lit all over Finland, except in the Swedish-speaking areas along the coast, where a Midsummer pole, similar to a maypole, is erected instead.
SITR/Eija Simelius 18.6.2012