You don't really feel that it's the shortest night of the year in Israel. It gets dark at around 20:00 and stays that way until the morning. When exactly in the morning I don't know. Being a Finnophile and a general Scandinavia enthusiast, I celebrate Midsummer every year, drinking and merry making as the northerners do. So usually I wake up late the next day, quite unaware of when dawn actually took place.
One memorable Juhannus (Finnish for Midsummer) was that of 2006. We put up a maypole and lit a bonfire on a north Tel-Aviv beach. Finland's own Susanna and Paivi were there, both very religious Christians who didn't mind at all dancing around the maypole in the best pagan tradition. There was some cheating on lovers going on in unlit reaches of the beach, and an accident that ended with a visit to the hospital. I still bear its scar on my right ring finger.
This year's June 21st was the bachelors' party for Shlomo, Tel-Aviv's #1 publisher of underground poetry. Dana Guidetti organized for all to meet at an Ethiopian restaurant on lower Allenby. A band was playing beautifully under a mock straw parasol (enfin, ca fut la fete de la music). We hit the beach and swam in the dark and drank too much Whisky and met a girl from Croatia and another from New York, and went to sleep dizzy and woke up at noon.
I'm feeling sick today. I had my first instance of hung-over vomiting since 1998, but that's better than getting a scar and besides, both Juhannus and Shlomo deserve to be taken seriously. I hope next Midsummer will be just as decent. Until then, I invite you to enjoy both a day in the Finnish countryside with the band Ultra Bra (which is enormously popular over there) and this great British campaign against binge drinking.