To celebrate Midsummer (Jaanipäev) we made this cute bonfire craft by squeezing a little bit of paint onto the black card and making the flames using the back of a paintbrush. We then glued on some real twigs for the wood and added some glitter.
Midsummer (Jaanipäev) is one of the most important celebrations across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Scandinavian countries, although it is also celebrated across Europe. In the past people weren´t allowed to work on Midsummers Day as it was such an important day. They could only do the most basic necessary things, although it was also common to go to the sauna and visit the graves of loved ones.
The best known ritual is the lighting of the bonfire and then jumping over it. Traditionally this was supposed to make you rich and of course it would also scare away all the evil spirits, so the bigger the fire, the better. Failure to light a bonfire was to invite the evil spirits to set fire to your house.
On Midsummer`s Eve Estonians all around the country will still gather with their families, or at larger events to celebrate this important day with singing and dancing around a bonfire, as Estonians have done for centuries. Estonians take the tradition with them even living abroad.. it was so heartwarming to see on the internet, bonfires being lit or just bbqs being set up all over the world.. from Australia to Europe.
Estonians always sing at Midsummers Eve. Traditional Midsummer songs are about inviting people to come and join their bonfires. If they didn’t they would become all sleepy and hairy and all their plans would fail. More recently the traditional songs have been replaced by modern ones.
Midsummer`s Day marks a change in the farming year, specifically the break between the completion of spring sowing and the hard work of summer hay-making, so it is inevitable that some of the rituals of Midsummer`s Day have very strong roots in folklore.
As it is the shortest night of the year, it is common to stay up until dawn. It was thought to be good luck, if it didn`t rain on Midsummer’s Eve as the morning dew was considered to have special healing powers. People would wash their face in the dew as it was supposed to make you beautiful. In earlier times, people would turn somersaults in the dew as it would prevent back ache, very important obviously for farmers.
In the past, young women would pick nine types of flowers at Midsummer`s Eve and put them under their pillow. They hoped to dream about their future husband, whilst the men would go to the forests to look for fern blossoms. It was believed at that time that ferns would blossom at Midsummer`s Eve. You were supposed to go to the forest alone, ignoring everything, not worrying about the fiercest of beasts and if you heard your name called, you should never turn around for fear of a terrible fate…
If you found a blossom you should remove it from the forest immediately. This would give you wealth, happiness and the power to understand the language of all animals and birds. From the 20 th century young men and women would go together to the forest to look for blossoms. If you found one, it would bring good luck.
We also had a little bbq and in the evening we played with our dollies having a Midsummer Party. I made some little outfits for grandma and grandad as it is popular to wear national costume at Midsummer`s Party.
We also made a little bonfire using sticks, playdough and tissue paper.
And all the farm animals had a party with grandma and grandad.
They even baked some sausages on sticks…
before going home to eat.