My Experiences of Finnishness

During my trips around the world I have often heard that we Finns are shy, polite, distant and trustworthy. I agree and I can notice these personality traits in myself also.  There are differences between individuals of course, but comparing to other cultures there is a huge need for personal space and individuality. Finns are not used to small talk and no one considers it as rudeness. And most of us like to be exact, so if you agree to meet a Finn at 2 pm, they will be there at 2 pm.

Finnish nature consists mostly of lakes and forests. We have 40 national parks but usually you don’t have to go that far to enjoy nature, because Finnish cities are pretty small and it doesn’t take a long time to reach forests outside the cities by bus or car.  Most of Finns have a very close connection with nature. That is predictable because as a far-away northern country Finland all the modern influences and Christianity came here late (compared to Central Europe).  Finnish nature is famous for its fresh air and four seasons.

One of the most important things in Finnish culture is sauna. The oldest form of Finnish sauna is called the smoke sauna. It is a special type of sauna without a chimney. When the rocks in the stove are heated, the smoke circles in the room before escaping through a vent in the ceiling or through the door left ajar during the heating. Modern saunas have chimneys but in Finland there are still lots of smoke saunas left. Sauna is a place for both mental and physical relaxation. In more ancient times sauna was a place to give birth,  to cure illnesses and to wash the deceased.

 

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