Come out and enjoy Finnish family fun, games, and more at 2017’s Finnish Midsummer Celebration on the National Mall, June 17.The Embassy of Finland has organized a celebratory event in honor of the Scandinavian country’s one-hundredth year of independence, to take place Saturday, June 17, on the National Mall during the annual Finnish midsummer celebration. The annual midsummer celebration is put on by the Finlandia Foundation and celebrates the summer equinox and Finnish holiday called “Juhannus.” The event is free and open to all; attendees will have the chance to experience and learn about Finnish culture and traditions, as well as enjoy family-friendly activities in a community environment. While Finland has only been an independent nation for 100 years, its people and culture have existed much longer. Finland was part of the Swedish Kingdom from the Middle Ages until the early part of the 19th century. When Sweden lost to Finland in the Napoleonic Wars, the country became part of the Russian Empire in 1809. It was then that the Finnish identity began to form, and in 1917, the country finally gained its independence and recognition as a nation and people. Although the official Finnish Independence Day is December 6, the centennial anniversary is and will be celebrated throughout the year during Finnish cultural events taking place all over the world.
In Finland, the “Juhannus” holiday is celebrated each year during the summer equinox. Finland is known as the "land of the midnight sun," as during the peak of the summer, the sun does not set in the northern regions of the country. During “Juhannus” celebrations, most of the country’s citizens celebrate with family, food, fun, sauna, and bonfires lakeside (Finland is also known for its abundance of lakes). [gallery size="full" ids="2120,2119"] The country’s independence means a lot to its citizens as many sacrifices had to be made to keep it during the 20th century, including fighting off the Russians during World War II. This year’s celebration is also special as Finland is the acting chair of the Arctic Council and will be sharing its “snowhow.” During the celebration, attendees will have the chance to learn about aspects of Finnish culture such as “sisu,” or inner determination and the ability to work through the toughest of times and hardships that is said to have been given to Finns by the Arctic climate and Mother Nature. The Midsummer Celebration is one of Finland’s biggest holidays. The Finlandia Foundation and the Embassy of Finland has for this year’s event planned a full day of Finnish sports and outdoor activities as well as dance performances by Finnish troupes. The Finnish women’s dance group “Team Ajattomat” is scheduled to perform. There also will be a raffle, and attendees will have the chance to try the famous “Molkky” game. The activities and celebratory events will be taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the National Mall’s German-American Friendship Garden set between the Washington Monument and the White House. The Garden is situated between 15th and 17th streets along Constitution Avenue and can be accessed by public transportation or foot. The activities run throughout the day, guests can join the fun at any time. Will you be attending the Finnish celebration? Tell us in the comments!