Erasmus adventures in Jyväskylä, Finland

Juhannus

Summer, sun is shining, longest daylight (almost 20 hours in Central Finland) and Juhannus is comming! Juhannus is one of the most important Finnish celebrations. Internationally it is known as Midsummer and it is basically celebration of summer. It is celebrated close to Summer Solstice, always on Saturday (between 20. and 26. June).

However it is not celebration in style of Vappu (described here), where cities are full of people having fun together. Now the cities are empty! Where does everybody go? Well, majority of Finnish people have (or have access to) summer cottage (kesämökki) and during Midsummer everybody wants to get out of town to be in the middle of beautiful Finnish nature with friends or family.

Prepared pile of wood for kokko

Prepared pile of wood for bonfire / kokko

One of the most typical things and acitivies during midsummer is making bonfires (kokko). Huge piles of wood are impressive on their own, but when they start to burn, that is a show! People also like to go for a boat ride on a lake, sing, do barbecues, … and get drunk 🙂 Before Juhannus you can see many people running around the stores and carrying huge packs of beer and also attacking Alko for wine and liquers 😀

Juhannus kokko

Juhannus kokko

 

My first Juhannus didn´t seem to be exciting at first. I didn´t feel well during the morning and had no plan what to do. It was possible to take bottle of wine, go to beach, play mölkky, frisbee and do barbecue. But we have done this many times before and this was Midsummer, when I wanted wanted to enjoy some traditions and do something special.

Luckily we ended up going out of Jyväskylä, 5 people in a car, to watch 2 bonfires. I am very happy especially for the opportunity to visit private kokko from my friend´s family (thank you very much for that!), where her family welcomed us really warmly. In total we saw several nice places, had a lot of fun, saw beautiful sunset and then ended up watching sunrise with some Finnish students on Myllyjärvi beach around 4am 🙂

Juhannus midnight

Juhannus midnight

Over all it was very nice experience and I think that together with really bright summer nights it is another good reason why to stay in Finland a bit longer after semester ends 😉