In her stories Tove Jansson depicts midsummer in a vibrant way that brings warmth to even the coldest winter nights. To celebrate midsummer, we looked up a bunch of beautiful quotes from Tove Jansson's works, both Moomin stories as well as other novels and short stories, and interviewed her niece Sophia Jansson on the family's midsummer traditions.
Tove Jansson often spent midsummers in Pellinki archipelago in Porvoo. Her niece Sophia Jansson often participated in the collective midsummer celebrations: “Tove celebrated midsummer in a very typical Finnish way out in the archipelago. On midsummer there were parties, communion, a bonfire, good food, drinks, songs around the table as well as flowers in the hair”, she explains.
“Since Tove lived in the archipelago during all summers, close to the sea and nature, midsummer was a special event for her in its honour, a celebration that nature had finally flourished, the flowers were blooming and the light was at its best – there was really reason to party. After midsummer, it got warmer again, when the flowers had already bloomed, which was then followed by August as nature started to prepare for Autumn.”
The happiness over midsummer and the flourishing nature is beautifully portrayed in Tove Jansson’s texts – both in the Moomin stories and the adult novels and short stories.
Atmospheres in the height of summer
They forgot their sorrows and ran further and further into the enchanted garden.
The Moomins and the Great Flood
But the sea was glittering as before, the reflections danced over the floor in playful twists, and the faint summer wind comfortingly stroked her snout.
Tales from Moominvalley
Oh, to be a Moomin and to dance in the waves while the sun gets up! The night was forgotten and a long June day lay before them.
Finn Family Moomintroll
The western sky was still burning like a rose down at the horizon, but it was definitely night.
The sun had set, but now in June there was of course no darkness at night to speak of. The night was pale and dreamy and full of magic
Midsummer magic the Moomin way
And now for the Midsummer fire,’ said the Fillyjonk. She blew out the lamp and put the matches in her pocket. Outside the sky was still quite light, and you could make out every single leaf of grass on the ground. Behind the spruce tops, where the sun had gone to rest for a while, a streak of red light remained waiting for the new day. They wandered through the deeply silent wood and came out on the meadows by the shore, where the night was fairer still.
“We went off to pick nine kinds of flowers and put them under our pillow and then our dreams came true. But you weren’t allowed to say a word while you picked them, nor afterwards until morning.”
“Did your dreams come true?” asked Moomintroll.
“Of course,” said the Snork Maiden.
“First you must turn seven times around yourself, mumbling a little and stamping your feet. Then you go backwards to a well, and turn around, and look down in it. And then, down in the water, you’ll see the person you’re going to marry!”
Wishing you a warm and happy midsummer!