Northlanders Celebrate Finnish Midsummer Festival

An unseasonably cold and rainy day did not stop dozens of people with Finnish heritage from celebrating the day that goes back so many generations.

SAGINAW, Minn. – The Finlandia Foundation Northland Chapter hosted Juhannus, or the Finnish Midsummer Festival on Sunday at Sampo Beach.

An unseasonably cold and rainy day did not stop dozens of people with Finnish heritage from celebrating the day that goes back so many generations.

“I think just the camaraderie and seeing people that you know and talking and I get lots of good laughs playing Molkky,” said Anja Bottila who was on the planning committee for the day’s events.

The celebration includes traditional Finnish breads, a bonfire, the traditional game Molkky, and of course sauna and allows Finnish Northlanders to remember their heritage.

“I used to go to the cabin with my grandparents and she’d tell me stories about growing up in Finland and different things and so I wanted to go there and just have always been interested in all things Finnish,” said Bottila.

Organizers were worried that the cold weather would keep people away, but in Finnish tradition a gloomy day did not stop any outdoor excitement.

They say it is because of the Finnish spirit.

“It’s sisu it’s built into our heritage. The word sisu means perseverance stick-to-itiveness determination. That catches the essence of what it means to be a Fin. Never giving up,” said Pat Eilola who holds many high positions in the local Finnish community.

Sampo Beach has been a haven for Finnish Northalnders for decades, and Eilola says says she works to put on events like these to bring Finnish people together.

“I look at it as service because it’s going to help keep that Finnish tradition alive. I think that this draws us back to our Finnish roots. Our Finnish roots are deeply set in this place. This is Sampo,” said Eilola.

Eilola also finished by saying she could not wait to go in the sauna followed by a jump in the lake proving the true resilience of the Finnish culture.

 

 

 

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