Yesterday was Juhannus Eve, which means Midsummer Eve.
When my mum asked her kids at work, 4-6 year olds, what Midsummer Eve meant to them, they had not idea what it meant. It was only when she asked them what the Finnish word for Midsummer, "Juhannus", meant they said something along the lines of going to their summer cottage, spending time with family, and one little boy even started talking on and on about the awesome automatic-opening-boot car they drive in to their summer cottage every Juhannus :)
What does Juhannus mean to me? Time to spend with the family, time to slather on that insect repellent to tell those mosquitoes, more firmly than last year, to please not bite me. It is the time to relax without noticing the time go by for three whole days over a long weekend. And before you know it, you are up at 11 p.m. watching, and laughing until you cry, to some old TV shows on Youtube or, more traditionally, slapping yourself in the sweaty sauna with a birch branch to tell your blood circulation to get a move on.
So what does Juhannus mean to you?
I am aware that this question might be weird for those of us who don't celebrate Midsummer, or Juhannus, but in actual fact, when you notice the packed grocery shops that close at 2 p.m., Juhannus is like Christmas in Finland. It is like Thanksgiving, or some similar celebration in America. Because it is a celebration of life; life spent living in the sun before the dark winters come around again, together as a family playing games that the sun has energised into us. That is why I love Juhannus.
So what did I get up to on Juhannus Eve this year, well I am glad you asked :)
We started the day by going to the local "tori", market place.
After the adults had their morning coffee, we all got into our separate cars; my grandparents and I in one, and Harri and my parents in another, and we all set out for Tamelantori in Tampere.
As we neared the tori we discovered that everyone had the same plans that morning. The most traffic my grandparents (who have lived in Finland for around 11 years) had ever seen around the tori was at a near standstill all around us. It took us around 15 minutes to find a car park!
After that we walked into a huge crowd of Finns looking for "new" vegetables, that had just been harvested, flower pots and "munkkikahvi" pastries and coffee, at the many outdoor cafes all at the "tori".
|The most popular things to buy at "tori"s: mansikka, hernet ja uusiperuna; strawberries, snow peas and new potatoes.|
|The amazing array of rainbow-coloured flower pots and bouquets.|
|More beautiful flowers.|
|New sweet carrots and potatoes. As you can see, when we arrived at 11 midday most of the new potatoes were already gone. Finns and their new potatoes ;)|
That is Juhannus for you guys, what have you experienced from Midsummer?
Have an awesome Juhannus day!