It was raining. A lot. And not the every-day drizzle you are used to. It felt like somebody had broken all the watery hell loose and just in time also. We were about to begin our annual mid-summer celebration.
The mid-summer celebration, before also known as St. John’s day, was originally designed to celebrate Ukko, the god of thunder (ukkonen, pun intended.) Of course, it isn’t how it used to be, so how do we then celebrate it? We drink. More than one should in a lifetime. After we get ourselves drunk we gather around a big pile of wood and other burnables somebody gathered a while back. And then we burn it. That’s it.
It’s no fun walking on wet planks even the most liberal person couldn’t call a bridge, while it feels that global warming brought the rain season upon us. Somebody brave has decided to give a try to one of our national “hobbies”, log drifting.
Once a skill used by lumberjacks to get big logs down to the sawmills, now it is mostly an attraction. Two people stand in the opposite ends of a log and try to drop the other one into the icy waters below by rotating the log around itself.
Later on you can give one of the many historic finnish dances a try or even grab a wet sausage and some beer. All the while rain pours down as in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.
The night ends I the grand alightment of the fire or in finnish “kokko”. The local fire department is ready to extinguish any fires we might accidentally get going. Because of the rain, everything is wet and we decide to settle with pure gasoline to aid the fire. The poor, drunk soul who volunteers pulls his hand out just in time to evade the fire going up the gasoline which he seemed to be, for some reason, be covered in.
So why do we do this? We Finns are a really patriotic tribe. At least in some sense. We love our country and love to celebrate even things we really wouldn’t have to. This could be because most of our year is really dark and we need to figure something to cheer us up. Maybe that could explain all the drinking. Nevertheless everybody has a great time, except the poor 5 – 10 people who drown every year. A number that is announced annually in the radio.