Hi there, my name is Pedro Luna and I’m an International Student coursing his second year of studies in Finland. And although I’m not Finnish, in the next lines of this –hopefully– short blog post I’m going to try to define what Finnishness means to me.
To give some context, when I was asked to explain the definition of Finnishness I first went to see what the literature on this subject says. However, none of the online dictionaries I looked up on had an answer for me. So, I figured that in order to understand the meaning of this word at its full extent we should first break it down into the words that compose it: Finnish and ness.
1.relating to the Finns or their language.
2.the language of the Finns, spoken by about 4.6 million people in Finland, and also in parts of Russia and Sweden. It is a Finno-Ugric language related to Estonian, and more distantly to Hungarian, and is noted for its morphological complexity.
WORD ORIGIN. a native English suffix attached to adjectives and participles, forming abstract nouns denoting quality and state (and often, by extension, something exemplifying a quality or state)
As a result of this quick research, I could then define Finnishness with certainty as “The quality, state or characteristic of being Finnish”. Brilliant, innit!
Given this situation, I decided to use my relatively short experience living in Finland to describe what Finnishness mean to me. So here it goes:
It is waking up early in the morning, grab a huge ass cup of coffee for breakfast, and go out to school or work even when there’s no daylight yet, and a not-too-friendly -20C outside. It’s also drinking at least a couple cups of coffee more during the morning to get through the day. Black coffee preferably.
Finnishness is slushy streets in October, but an incredible white Christmas in December (with the most delicious pastries you could ever imagine !). On top of that, Finnishness is frozen lakes , dipping in those lakes and ice skating with friends while the cold wind hits you hard in the face.
But Finnishness is also enormous green areas everywhere. There are beautiful parks surrounded by trees, plants, and animals where you can just breathe nature!. When the summer arrives, everything gets even better, endless days where you got more than 15 hours of daylight, food fairs in parks and loads of festival. It is people biking everywhere, picnicking in the central park, enjoying the sun in a terrace. It is their summer cottages by the lake, having some beers, a couple of mosquitoes’ bites and then straight to the lake to get refreshed. All of these moments add to the safety and all efficient public system that make Finland a great place to live, study, work, and of course, party. I couldn’t forget to mention, Finnishness is ice hockey and going crazy when winning the world cup, but it is also tidily celebrating the independence day.
To sum it up, Finnishness is not just a word, it is a complete enriching experience in every single aspect of your lives that personally, I would not have been able to experience anywhere else.