22 June 2012

Happy Midsummer

It's all downhill from here, so you'd better get your winter jackets out. At least, that's what I've heard from several Finns already. Every year it's the same thing... Such a pessimistic bunch!

Yesterday was the official date for the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere. Here where I live in Finland, the sun rose at 3:42 and set at 23:13, meaning the sun was above the horizon for 19 hours and 31minutes. With the sun being so close to the horizon, it doesn't get fully dark here, which even after all these years still amazes me.

While the actual date of midsummer or solstice is past, here in Finland it's a weekend long celebration and it's just getting started. Most people don't work on Friday (even if we do get paid) and shops that are open today, the liquor stores included, close at noon and most won't open until Monday. (Although, some smaller food shops will be open Sunday.)

Juhannus, or Midsummer, in Finland is a big deal. I would go so far as to say that it is the second biggest holiday celebration after Christmas. This is the time when many people start their summer holidays (4 weeks) by leaving the city and heading to the countryside to their summer cottages (mökki). Summer cottages bring to mind simple and easy living, relaxation, sauna and quite often no running water or electricity (or at least only one or the other). There is a lot of cooking on the grill and more than enough meat and makkara (sausages) to eat. I mustn't forget the liberal amount of alcohol that will also be consumed by many this weekend too.

A good holiday weekend is had when then death toll from road accidents and drownings are low. This is usually determined, in part, by the weather. The sunnier and nicer the weather, the more drownings there tends to be. This year, the weather is a mixture of sunny and cloudy, but surprisingly not much rain is foretasted. This will be an unusual midsummer if there is no rain! In fact, I'm not sure I can remember a mid-summer without rain.
Juhannus weather 2012
Having said all of the above about Juhannus, Mr Siili and I will spend the weekend at home (in the city). We'll go to sauna (our own sauna, whenever we want!), relax and find a park to walk to and just hang out. We'll hopefully eat a makkara or two, but not by grilling it, as a grill is one of the things we haven't purchased yet. We might try cooking it on the sauna or if all else fails, I'll fry it in a pan. *grin* (I really want to eat a makkara or two!) But first, Mr Siili's stomach needs to stop hurting. (At least we know it isn't his appendix.)

Hyvää juhannusta, kaikkille! 
Happy midsummer to all!