Midsummer is Scandinavia’s most popular festival along with Christmas (…of course!) Midsummer was originally a fertility festival with many customs and rituals associated with nature and the hope for a good harvest.
In Sweden houses are decorated inside and out with wreaths and flower garlands and there are bonfires and dancing round maypoles aplenty! In fact Midsummer is so popular in Sweden, there has been serious discussions to make the Midsummer‘s Eve into the National Day of Sweden!!
Norway also celebrates with bonfires and evening processions, and in Western Norway it is custom for the arranging of mock weddings, symbolizing the blossoming of new life. It is also said that if a girl picks seven different flowers from seven different fields and places them under her pillow she will dream of her future husband!
Bonfires are also a common occurrence in Finland too; the potency of the flowers is supposed to be so great on Midsummer, it was traditionally thought that witches would collect all their herbs for their potions at Midsummer (which is one of the reasons for all the bonfires – to keep them away!)
According to Finns, not only is making lots of noise and lighting bonfires important to drive away those evil spirits, another tradition the Finns adhere here to is the drinking! Traditionally it was thought that the amount of drink consumed in Midsummer would correlate to the magnitude of the crop at the end of the summer – we can’t imagine why the Finns still respect that tradition?!!
The vibrancy of life during the Midnight Sun – or white night as the Finns call it – takes on a different pace during the winter months. You will find the polar nights bring a magical atmosphere to these Nordic countries, with the soft sound of the snow falling to the heavy breaths of the reindeers and their silent migration through the snow and with the Aurora Borealis dancing overhead, we think it probably beats the bonfire glow during the summer months…not that we are biased…..
Experience the polar nights and the magical Aurora Borealis lighting up the night sky on one of our dedicated Northern Lights holidays.