Mayor Naantali was thrown into the water on “Sleepyhead Day”: how the Finns honor ancient summer traditions

At the end of July there are several other unofficial holidays and memorable dates. So, according to legends, July 23 begins the Rotten month (Mätäkuu), which lasts until August 23.

In Naantali, on July 27, the honorary dormouse was once again thrown into the sea, which this year became the outgoing head of the city Jouni Mutanen .

Mutanen has led the Naantali Municipality since 2014. Yesterday he gave up his post to the new mayor, who was Laura Leppänen .

The tradition of celebrating “Sleepyhead Day” goes back to the Middle Ages, when Catholicism was practiced in Finland. The tradition is based on the Christian legend about the seven youths of Ephesus, who were walled up alive in a cave and slept there for several centuries.

According to popular belief, a person who sleeps for a long time on “Sleepyhead’s Day” will be lazy throughout the year and sluggish.

In the city of Naantali, the honorary title of “Sony” is awarded annually to a person who has special services to his hometown.

July Superstitions

There are several other unofficial holidays and memorable dates at the end of July. So, according to legends, July 23 begins the Rotten month (Mätäkuu), which lasts until August 23. As the Finns believed, at this time it is difficult to heal or do not heal at all wounds, as well as minor abrasions and scratches, and food is not stored and rotted in the blink of an eye.

This superstition has a completely rational explanation: in hot weather (and this period of time is statistically the hottest in Finland) germs and bacteria multiply like yeast, and this interferes with wound healing and contributes to the fact that food spoils faster no refrigerator.

On July 25th, it is believed that Jaakko threw a cold stone into the water, after which the water bodies became too cold to swim. In the 18th century, after the change of the calendar, Jaakko’s name days shifted by two weeks: they were originally celebrated on August 5, which is more consistent with the cooling of the water.

According to Finnish meteorologists, nowadays it can be assumed that instead of cold Jaakko throws a hot stone into the water: on average, the water temperature rises by a couple of degrees after July 25.