Gornergrat Bahn - Matterhorn


Hauskaa Juhannusta – Happy Midsummer’s Day on the Gornergrat

What does ‘Hauskaa Juhannusta’ mean?
Midsummer’s Day is called ‘Juhannus’ in Finland and the English translation of ‘Hauska Juhannusta’ is simply ‘Happy Midsummer’s Day’.  It’s a day that signals the start of the summer holidays for the Finns and many other Scandinavians.

So what do the Gornergrat and Midsummer have in common?
In contrast to Halloween and Black Friday we rather like these traditions from the far north because they centre on families and friends,  who all get together to celebrate the longest day of the year. It’s a good idea to protect everyone at midsummer with a quality sun cream against the sun’s dangerous rays.

Hauskaa Juhannusta

is finnish and means:

"Happy Midsummer’s Day"

And where did the Midsummer Festival start?
Traditionally, the summer solstice festival falls between the 20th and 26th of June. Friends and families get together and have a great party.  This could be either a rather boozy affair or one of peace and tranquillity, where relaxation and peace and quiet are most important.  In the olden days the Fire of St. John and a sauna were the central activities of the day but these days people like to barbecue, go fishing or go boating. The day is an important one in the calendar because in the far north the winters are long and gloomy and so it is all the more necessary to enjoy the long, sunny days of summer.  The people decorate their houses with flowers, birch branches and national flags in honour of this symbolic day.

And of course – what’s a party without something good to eat?  Scandinavians begin with potatoes and fish.  These foods provide plenty of energy for the traditional Midsummer dancing  in the early evening. Around 10 o’clock in the evening  it’s time for the highlight of the day – lighting the Fire of St. John – but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the party.  The midnight sun still beckons everyone to carry on or  go boating and fishing.

A further custom is for the young women gather seven different kinds of flowers.  These flowers must be laid beneath their pillows before they go to sleep and legend says that the girls will see their future prince in their dreams that night. 

Feuerstelle am Riffelsee mit Blick aufs Matterhorn

Midsummer on the Gornergrat

We recommend the Gornergrat Kulm Restaurant for lunch and especially the garlic soup in bread with cheese and dried meat, Gornergrat Rösti (a Swiss potato speciality) and for dessert the awesome, tri-coloured Toblerone mousse.

For the ladies looking for romance we have plenty of flowers to choose from, especially on the walking path from Gornergrat to Rotenboden.  There are even some extremely rare flowers there - Phyteuma humile  (alpine campanula), Trifolium saxatile (sweet clover),  Thlaspi lerescheanum  (umbel pennycress),   Atemisia nivalis (snow wormwood) and of course the classic flowers: Edelweiss, Gentian and Rhododendron.

But- be kind to nature and do not pick the flowers.  Perhaps a photo of these rare plants is enough to place under your pillow. :)

With or without flowers, we wish you pleasant and warm summer days with your friends and families and of course a wonderful Midsummer Solstice – Hauskaa Juhannusta!