Although there are only a few notable holidays and celebrations in Finland, they are worth experiencing, especially the ones close to the Christmas season. Celebrations typically have historical, religious and seasonal themes (such as the Midsummer Festival). While most Finnish holidays are intimate affairs with close family, there are many interesting events that tourists can take part in throughout the year.
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
Just like everywhere else in the world, Finns celebrate the start of the year with great merriment. As if the Northern Lights weren’t beautiful enough, there are also fantastic firework displays across the country on New Year’s Eve.
Easter dates may vary, but traditional celebrations during the lent season remain the same. A time for reflection and self-control, the long holiday also gives ample opportunity for skiing.
Otherwise known as Vappu or May Day, this event coincides with the Spring Festival. Closely related to Beltane, a Celtic Festival, it resembles most May Day celebrations throughout Europe involving the crowning of statues around town and colorful carnivals. People party on the streets, have picnics and wear decorative clothing.
Also called Juhannus, the Midsummer Festival is typically held on the Saturday that falls between June 20 and 26. It celebrates the summer solstice, with most city dwellers heading to their summer cottage in the Lakeland, where plenty of drinking and bonfires take place.
Independence Day in Finland is held annually on December 6, commemorating the country’s liberation from Russia. During this time, the President hosts a VIP ball for diplomats, merited athletes and artists, televised for all to see.
Christmas is the biggest holiday in Finland, especially in Lapland, where Santa’s Village is located. Everything closes for three days (from December 24 through 26), when everyone feasts on Christmas treats, attends religious ceremonies and exchanges gifts. Many locals also hit the sauna before sunset.