Marja-Leena Rathje
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midsummer 2011

June 22, 2011 8:11 p.m

This stunning view from our back deck is the closest reminder for me this year of the midsummer bonfires and celebrations which we experienced long ago in Denmark, Sweden and Finland on a trip with our young family. Though the solstice occurred a few nights ago, in practice the actual celebrations can vary around the days closer to or on the weekend. Many Finns, for example, head out to their cottages at this time, often to begin their long summer vacation. Ah, those white nights...

Last weekend we introduced the Midsummer Festival at the Scandinavian Centre to our "English" daughter and granddaughters who are here for the summer. For some reason, I enjoyed our visit two years ago much more, but this was fun for the kids and even Elisa wrote about it - do read!

Being a favourite time of nostalgia for the Finn in me, I've written so many midsummer posts over my years of blogging that I won't repeat myself, but if you are new here and interested, here they are in addition to the above links - enjoy:

summer solstice 2004
midsummer dreams 2006
solstice memories 2007
white nights 2008
the longest day 2010

Happy Midsummer's or Midwinter, dear readers. May the season ahead be a good one for you.

Marja-Leena | 24/06/2011 | 11 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


amazingly that photo from 1983, in your 2007 post captures my memories of midsummer the most. i can remember that fire and the white sands better than i can remember most things! i loved it. i may have to plan a pilgrimage x

Looks like a blurred version of the Sistine Chapel ceiling where Yahway, in a tearing hurry for some reason (Ah yes, I remember, he'd only got six days) reaches out with the tip of his finger to create Adam, original sin, Groundhog Day and road vehicle pollution.

But here's an upbeat story instead. Following one of the rounds of the Stanley Cup (ice hockey to the uninitiated) the good burghers of Vancouver had a few too many boilermakers and went out and trashed the town (city?) So, The Guardian tells me, the world sneered: See, even nice little Canada is not immune to bad behaviour. But there was a sequel. The rather better burghers of Vancouver got together with their brooms and cleaned up the place for free. Hope you were down there with your broom, M-L.

Elisa, how old were you when you visited here in Finland?

This is now the Midsummer Day here in Vaasa, inside the city and the city is empty. Everybody that can, has escaped to archipelago.

I have all the bike roads to myself. And amazingly enough, someone from West Coast USA will be here tomorrow. She probably is not able to sleep.

And to you ML! I always liked the idea of those Scandinavian midsummer parties, with schnapps and crayfish.

I like your junkyard finds too.

Uff. You just stand in front of a sky like that and gaze in wonder and awe. Beautiful. Tonight I'll put it on full screen, pour an ale, and just sit for a bit. Kiitos Marja-Leena and Happy Happy Solstice!!!

BB, a scene out of the Sistine, wow, you are right...and funny!

As for that Hockey Night in Vancouver (a play on Hockey Night in Canada, the decades long TV show), I must tell you we are not hockey fans because of the violence in the sport, and as we saw, that violence spills over amongst the yahoos. Amazing how much psychoanalysis still keeps pouring forth in the media about it and Vancouver's shame. One favourite columnist of mine put it in perspective, riots happen everywhere, and our real shame is the homeless in our fair city. We believe the owners of the hockey teams (who make a fortune in the business) should be paying for all the security costs for all games, not taxpayers, and for the cleanup as well. And the game needs to change back to the sport it used to be years ago.

Elisa, that night in Denmark was the most memorable of Midsummers because of the lovely people. Yes, you need to go visit Finland and all those many cousins, it's not far from England, you are lucky.

Ripsa, Elisa was seven then and her older sister was ten (and we had another girl later whom we took to Finland in 2000). The exodus from the cities is truly amazing to us here, where Midsummer is not officially celebrated. Enjoy your American visitor, hope she can get some sleep.

Lucy, thanks, I do wish for some of those parties with family.

Rouchswalwe, and thank you too! Kippis, with that lovely ale in hand.

That does look marvelous. Must have been a grand night for skies all over because I was just looking at a flame orange one from Luisa Igloria in Virginia...

Shall pop back for more midsummers! Can't have too many.

Marly, odd how your comment came in just while I was reading your blog, though I was wordless unlike you, maybe worded out from visitors this afternoon. I'm sitting here reading a bit here and there before I tackle supper preparations, including for the grandkids whom we're babysitting this evening. Not so Midsummery....

yes, seven, ripsa, magical age. oddly enough i've returned to places in europe again at 21 and 35, but still not finland. i hope i needn't wait til i'm 42! x

denmark was full of lovely people! and i must plan a trip to meet the one hundred finnish cousins. xx

Elisa, yes, don't wait too long!