It's Midsummer's eve tonight. All day I've had Happy Midsummer -wishes from friends and family in Finland and Sweden, making me very home-sick. It's on days like today, with the exception of perhaps the 1st of May, when I miss being home the most. I haven't been in Finland this time of year since the children started school; I cannot recall when I last spent Midsummer at home.
In the past few years we've had children's (sorry: young students) exams and end of school/university arrangements to worry about, but this year there are no such things to fill the void of traditional Midsummer's Eve celebrations.
In Finland we'd be lighting a bonfire by a the lake tonight, eating pickled herring with soured cream, dill and new potatoes. In Sweden they'll be eating more or less the same stuff but instead of a fire there are Maypole's dotted around the landscape. What both of my home countries have in common is that they'll have a party, outside unless it's literally raining cats and dogs, and a fair amount of drinking is also involved. (Can you spot a common theme in the traditional festivities in this region?).
It may be an old wives' tale, but apparently more babies are conceived in Finland on the nightless night of the summer solstice than during any other time of year. Something to do with the dancing, drinking and general merriment which lasts all night, perhaps?
To make up for the lack of actually being in Finland, I'll be spending this beautiful summer's evening with the family, all of whom are here, but I promise not to light any unnecessary bonfires, and try not to conceive any babies. (Note to grown-up children: this is a JOKE)
Happy Midsummer everyone - Hauskaa Juhannusta - Glad Midsommar!