CulturallyOurs Mid-Summer Solstice Traditions Finland

Summer Solstice Traditions From Finland

CulturallyOurs Mid-Summer Solstice Traditions Finland

Explore a midsummer night’s dream through summer solstice traditions from Finland.

June allows us to find joy in the ordinary.

June brings endless summer nights, lush greenery and a countryside mindset. Late evening swims are welcome after the heat of the sauna, wildflowers dance to the gentle aromatic summer breeze and your mind effortlessly falls into a tranquil state. Summer solstice is marked throughout the entire northern hemisphere as the Earth’s north pole is tilted towards the sun, meaning daylight expands till nighttime.CulturallyOurs Mid-Summer Solstice Traditions FinlandThe ongoing global pandemic is forcing us to shift our focus on adapting to find new joy in the ordinary. It is time to put travel on hold and allow these current times may bring about new found interests and new ways to experience the world around us. This may be cooking or craftwork and June seems to be the perfect opportunity to garden, make fresh summer foods and appreciate what nature has to offer.

Hanna Amy, an avid traveler and photographer from Finland shares with us how her community is adjusting and celebrating to the summer solstice traditions in the new norm of the events of 2020.CulturallyOurs Mid-Summer Solstice Traditions FinlandFrom Hanna,

Here in Finland, we have never been in total lockdown and we have much found inspiration from outside as long as social distancing is followed. Many Finnish people have their own summer cottages, somewhere by a lake, woods or on an island away the hassle of the city, where people wind down in harmony with nature. This is where families and friends calm down for midsummer or “Juhannus”, the most celebrated festivity in Finland around the 24th of June.

There is a special feeling only a summer solstice can bring, it is a time of magic with endless white nights, where there is no darkness during the night time. In northern Lapland, the sun does not set below the horizon for several weeks and in the South the night never goes much past twilight during these polar days. Summer solstice traditions in my home country of Finland are truly special to me.CulturallyOurs Mid-Summer Solstice Traditions FinlandWe pick wildflowers from nearby meadows to make flower crowns, wear light dresses and dress the table with soft linens, ready for a seaside feast. CulturallyOurs Mid-Summer Solstice Traditions FinlandI wanted to share a traditional Scandinavian dish revolving around fish, that is great on warm June evening. The appetizer is a shrimp toast that is also eaten in Sweden and the main course is a cooked whole fish grilled on a charcoal fire. Both dishes are easy to make and can be adapted to your liking. Finnish people tend to eat clean and healthy food, where much of the ingredients speak for themselves.

Fish is a popular source of protein in Finland and at the countryside many people often catch it themselves. Summer flavors include fresh dill, lemon, seasonal vegetables and smoked flavors making it quite a typical dish for most summer solstice traditional celebrations in Finland. The seaside Skagen makes a wonderful appetizer or snack at garden parties for instance that can be made a little bit more special by adding fish roe on top.CulturallyOurs Mid-Summer Solstice Traditions Finland

Nordic style fish recipes

Full of superstition, myth says a Midsummer’s night attracts witches, fairies and elves from the woods to tease people and predict their future. By performing certain rituals, people believed this secured a better life, in terms of marriage, wealth and livelihood. Nevertheless, midsummer is also a day of romance that inspired Finns to search “for the love of their life”. Young maidens used to perform ancient rituals for seeking suitors and for fertility. Additionally girls used to pick flowers and place them under their pillow in the hopes to see their future husband in their dreams.

Today, Juhannus is mostly celebrated in the countryside that revolves around cooking good food, sauna, swimming in the lake and making a bonfire closer to midnight. This tradition was believed to dispel evil spirits and bring forth good fortune. We bring fresh birch bouquets into the heat of the sauna to spread the beautiful smell and swim in our clean clear lakes as we gaze into the peaceful flickering water into the horizon.

Seaside Skagen – Scandinavian Shrimp Toast

The seaside “skagen toast” is basically a shrimp and smoked salmon concoction that you place on top of toast. This recipe does not require much understanding or work, it is merely a matter of combining everything together to form a delicious mush that is served on toast.CulturallyOurs Mid-Summer Solstice Traditions FinlandIngredients:

  • 1 cup peeled shrimps
  • 1 spring onion finely chopped
  • Juice of lemon/white pepper
  • ½ cup cold smoked salmon finely chopped
  • 2 boiled eggs chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1cup sour cream
  • ½ cup chilled dill


Mix all the ingredients together and place on top of toast. Garnish with seasonal radishes, black pepper, dill and shrimps.

Scandinavian Style Grilled Whole Fish

CulturallyOurs Mid-Summer Solstice Traditions FinlandIngredients:

    • Whole white fish
    • 1 lemon (cut into slices)
    • Herbs of choice
    • Marinade (mix together olive oil, chopped garlic, chilli and parsley)
    • Salt/pepper/oil


    1. Begin by making the marinade. In a bowl, finely chop garlic, chili and parsley and add some olive oil to it. The measurements are not particularly important, but let’s say 1 cup of oil, 1 fresh chili, 3 garlic cloves and a handful of parsley.
    2. Place the marinade all over the fish (inside and outside) and the lemon wedges and herbs into the cavities of the fish. You can also make a few incisions on the surface of the fish (both sides) that you also brush with the marinade and lemons.
    3. Place the fish on top of a iron grid and let it cook over a charcoal fire turning it once around for about 15 minutes on both sides. If you do not have possibility of an openfire, a grill works wonderfully too.
    4. Add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle some lemon juice over when ready to serve. The beauty of eating a cooked whole fish, is that you can serve it in the center of the table and everyone can lift for themselves. This fish dish is beautifully simple, but elegant in its own way.
    5. Garnish the fish with fresh herbs, spring onions and a bit of fresh chili.

CulturallyOurs Mid-Summer Solstice Traditions FinlandMidsummer’s dinner is the epiphany of what slow living is all about. It is that time of year, when families or loved ones get together and celebrate the small joys in life. May it be a simple homemade flower crown for that evening or swimming in the lake after a hearty dinner. As the evening begins to fade, the endless white night takes over the sky as if it was morning already. Finns believe that the magic of summer solstice is all around us, if you just believe and allow nature to show it to you.

{Photo and Words by Hanna Kirstiina Amy, Website:, Instagram: @xoamysnordic }

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Summer Solstice Recipies And Traditions From Finland By CulturallyOurs

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