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It was usually the oldest man in the village, who received the great honour of lighting the fire.
In Ahvenanmaa and in Swedish-Finnish coastal areas, the bonfires are replaced with Midsummer poles.
This is the time to relax and enjoy the magical “Night less Night” and welcome the summer.
The others are Lady Day (March 25), Michaelmas (September 29) and Christmas Day (December 25). Samuel Pepys described Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream as “the most insipid, ridiculous play that ever I saw”... ..he was given pleasure by its “good dancing” and “handsome women”. In 14th century England, Midsummer’s Eve was celebrated on June 23 with bonfires and feasting. In Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Quebec, Midsummer Day (June 24) is a public holiday. In the town of Kuldiga, Latvia, it is marked by people running naked through the streets at 3am. A Midsummer tradition in Finland is for maidens to put flowers under their pillows so they will dream of their future husbands.
Midsummer is celebrated each year between the 20th and 26th of June, at the lightest point of the year.
During the Midsummer, many open-air dance festivals are arranged and most of the cities have big bonfires for people to gather around and see, however many Finns prefer to celebrate this special occasion in the countryside, at their summer houses together with friends and relatives.
Saunas are warmed up, fresh birch whisks are prepared, traditional Finnish songs are heard playing on the radio, sausages are grilled and drinks aplenty are enjoyed.
Traditionally in Scandinavian countries on the 21st of June, bonfires glow in a night with no darkness, since at this time of year the sun never really sets.
On this evening, buried treasures can be discovered by studying how moonbeams fall.In Finland bonfires were first made in the eastern parts of the country and from there the tradition quickly spread all over Finland.In the past whole villages would gather together around the bonfire, and strict rules were followed as to how and when the fire was lit.Midsummer's Eve also offer a Lifetime membership for Â£74.95.If you subscribe to their 3-month membership or longer, receive a free copy of ' The Seven Secrets of Online Dating' - the invaluable online dating companion guide. Astronomically, midsummer is the day of the summer solstice, or longest day, which usually falls on June 20 or 21.2.