Light The Midsummer Bonfires
It sucks to be a vampire in the northern hemisphere this month.
Summer solstice, the longest day of the year, just passed on 20th of June.
But the Nightless Nights continue in Scandinavia, Siberia and Alaska. The sun barely sets at all.
We northern folks know how to take everything out of the rare moments with sun, and booze the living daylights out with abandon.
In Finland Midsummer’s Eve is a national free day (that’s today). Hurray!
As a result, it is one of our main drinking holidays besides May Day and New Year’s Eve.
For some reason Midsummer is also the day of the year with most boating accidents and deaths by drowning.
4 facts about Midsummer
1. In ye olde times bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits. They roamed freely in the world as the sun was turning southwards. Bonfires are still part of the tradition.
2. Christianity relabeled the old pagan holiday as the nativity of John the Baptist. As a result the day is called juhannus in Finnish.
John -> Johannes -> juhannus.
3. In later years Midsummer was supposedly the time when witches flew to a witch sabbat with their brooms to make deals with the Devil. In Sweden the sabbat place was Blåkulla and in Finland it was called Kyöpelinvuori.
4. Some Neopagans and Wiccans call Midsummer Litha. The holiday is named after the Anglo-Saxon months roughly corresponding to June and July (se Ærra Liþa and se Æfterra Liþa, the “early Litha month” and the “later Litha month”). Bonfires are also part of their fire festival.
How about you? Do you celebrate Midsummer in some way? What other summer festivals are there in your region? And does your family and friends have some special summer traditions?