Juhannus is the largest traditional summer celebration in Finland. Long days and midnight sun are beloved in Nordic countries, and this is the time to celebrate the longest and the brightest day of the year and the real beginning of the summer season.
Finnish "Nightless night" as it is also called, is occupied by many beliefs and magical stories. This is the night when witches, fairies, and elves come to the human world to tease them and predict their future. There are lots of old traditions for this holiday that are still followed. One of such is building the 'kokko' which is a huge bonfire, usually placed near the water.
One more tradition is to decorate houses and doorways with birch trees and flowers. In the past people used to decorate their cattle as well for good milk production. In the east of the country the midsummer celebration used to be called the celebration of Ukko, the God of Thunder. He was the main god in pagan times, as the rain and the harvest mostly were overseen by him.
Nowadays, midsummer celebrations are a combination of fire and water, traditional folk music and songs, dancing, and just having fun.
Most Finns spend these days in their summer cottages, close to a forest and a lake. Every city has a huge bonfire to gether people around for large celebrations. This holiday is celebrated annually between the 20th and 26th of June, during the longest day of the year.
Some of the best places to experience authentic celebrations of the Finnish Midsummer are Joensuu and Rovaniemi. However, many choose the capital city. Traditional festivities occur away from downtown Helsinki, namely on Seurasaari island, or outside of the city in Porvoo. In the meanwhile, some people choose to stay in the center of the city which is less crowded than usual during these days.