Today in Finland is National Sleepy Head Day. It’s an annual observance based on the story of the Saints of Ephesus who slept in a cave for some 200 years during the Middle Ages whilst hiding from persecution by Decius, the Roman Emperor at the time.
Traditionally on this day, the last person in the house (also dubbed as the “laziest”) to wake up is woken up using water, either by being thrown into a lake or the sea, or by having water thrown on them.
Other traditions include shaving the left side of the “laziest” man’s chest.
In the city of Naantali, a Finnish celebrity is chosen every year to be thrown in the sea from the city’s port at 7 a.m. The identity of the sleeper is kept secret until the event. People who are chosen have usually done something to the benefit of the city. Every city mayor has thus far been thrown to the sea at least once, but other sleepers have included the president Tarja Halonen’s husband, Dr Pentti Arajärvi, the CEO of Neste Oil Risto Rinne, along with many writers, artists and politicians. The celebrations continue into the evening in Naantali and include activities for people of every age.