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Studying and Living in Finland LUT Alumni Experience by Aisulu Harjula

Finnish Summer and Midsummer

Finnish summer is cold with rare warm days. Although the sun may shine brightly and nights are bright, wide lakes seem to be so tempting to jump in and swim, but the wind is cold and water is freezing, the sun is far up in the sky and clouds come up to bring a rain. And this is in July, the hottest month of the summer. In May you see that all the shops are full of summer offers from dresses to home decor although everyone still wears jackets outside. In June Finns talk what they will do in summer: will go to a summer cottage, swim in the lake when it’s warm enough, enjoy the sun. For me it sounds strange because somewhere in the future is autumn but summer is already now.

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Students take a chance to enjoy whatever the weather brings and however cold it is! Be brave enough and you can already swim in May!

Once I said (it was spring) I couldn’t wait for Juhannus, the midsummer fest. I was told then that Juhannus is almost the end of the summer, so no need to be excited so much. Then when Juhannus was not so far away I got to know that Finns don’t think June as a summer month but July. And now July is here and for the first week it was raining, I should have forgotten my summer clothes and shoes (thanks to the weather it was just a week!). For a person who comes from the South, the North summer is wild. Honestly it’s easier to live for three summer months when it’s on average 16-17°C than when it’s 40°C.

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Beach volleyball everyday until departure (exchange students leave Finland and local students go to their hometowns). In July LUT campus is empty.

Juhannus

Juhannus is the midsummer day celebrated at the end of June on the equinox day. It is known in the world as St. John’s day or Litha, it is the same as the day of San Juan in Spain, Johannistag or Mittsommer in Germany, Ivan Kupala in Russia, it exists also in Czech Republic, Lithuania, the Nethelands, Latvia, Estonia, France and in many other countries where Christianity is dominating over other religions.

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Midsummer bonfire

Nowadays Midsummer celebrating does not have connections with religion, at least in Finland. For many Finns it’s a traditional celebration of summer. People usually depart to their summer cottages located outside cities to celebrate the Midsummer Eve. They gather with family members and relatives, enjoy traditional (usually wooden) sauna, grill sausages.

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Open air games are part of the fest. This is mölkky, a traditional Finnish game to knock down as many wooden pins as possible (like in bowling)

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This was a task to gather balls from the ground while wearing glasses in which you see the world upside down

Prior to the Midsummer Eve people gather fallen wood from across the forest then burn a bonfire on the eve. It also serves as a place to cook food on fire like sausages and vegetables. The action to burn fallen wood is also simple cleaning of the forest. The bonfire looks amazing and magnificent since the fire is huge.

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People who don’t depart to summer cottages gather in city harbors to see the large bonfires.

About The Author

Researcher at LUT, Master of Economics, LUT & GSOM Saint Petersburg State University. Focus on Strategy, Innovation and Sustainability. Background in natural sciences.

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