Photo: Vesa-Matti Vaara
From the Helsinki Sanomat International Edition
“Just in case anyone is wondering why the Summer Solstice is being celebrated a bit late, the concept of Midsummer in Finland is associated with the saint’s day of St. John the Baptist (hence Juhannus, the Finnish name for it), and since 1955 the holiday has always been celebrated on a Saturday falling between June 20th and June 26th. Earlier it was held on June 24th, or St. John’s Day.
Midsummer Eve is quite as important as the day itself, and given the long distances often involved in travelling to the summer cottage a good many people choose to take Thursday off as well. Traffic volumes on Thursday and Friday reach an annual peak, and long lines are to be expected at traditional bottlenecks.
The return on Sunday is not usually so congested on the roads, as many people take this weekend as the starting-signal for their summer holidays and stay in the countryside for the duration.”