Friday, June 19, 2009

Helsinki, Finland - Day 71: Midsummer's Weekend

Today is the summer solstice in Finland and the longest day with the sun not setting till almost midnight. Midsummer's weekend is the single most significant holiday in Finland - as celebrated as Thanksgiving in the U.S. Midsummer's was first celebrated as a pagan solstice ritual by the Nordic tribes and has evolved into a National holiday. Everything shuts down in the country and Helsinki felt almost like a ghost town as we arrived by the early ferry from Tallinn this morning.

T's old colleague - Mattias invited us over to celebrate Midsummer's with his family and friends and offered to pick us up from our apartment at noon. The Erickkson's have 4 beautiful children between ages 13 to 2 years and they make parenting seem decievingly simple and far too much fun!

Fins (and Swedes) toast their drinks by breaking into song and a few Aquavits later, everyone was drunk silly. I lost miserably at a game that was an amusing mix of croquet and bowling. Isaac and the youngest Erickkson child - Rufus tired themselves out jumping on the trampolene and fell asleep almost simultaneously.

It was a magical evening that I will think back to often for years to come. I remember looking out of the window around 11:30pm and seeing the midsummer sky awash in an iridescent purple-blue glow, and the enveloping warmth around the dinner table as great conversation flowed in the company of old and new friends.

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