Monthly Archives: August 2019

Finnish celebrations

For me, the best thing about Finland is our holidays.

New year’s eve is dedicated to parties, foods, drinks, friends and of course sparklers and fireworks.Friends gather around to have a good time, many people rent a cottage or host parties. Most of our money is disappeared in the sky thanks to fireworks.

Easter is dedicated more to family and dinners. Stores are full or Easter eggs, decorations and of course famous mämmi. As a child, it’s even more fun because you go to this folk tradition (virpoa) and you prepare your outfit and birches for it.

After Easter comes the first of May celebration. All the graduated put their graduation caps on and visit the markets to buy balloons and licorice. After that in some cities, you go to watch new engineer freshman’s getting their dew and go to parks for a picnic. Later on, students gather around with their overalls on to parties. The next morning is dedicated to brunch.

Juhannus the midsummer celebration is the biggest thing you can imagine to happen in Finland in the summer. Younger generation rent cottages, book hotel rooms or wild ones just take tents with them and gather around to these huge 3-day festivals with biggest Finnish artists. Calmer people go to cottages by the river, enjoy barbecue and funny “Olympic” games.

Independence day is dedicated to everything related to Finland. In the morning you watch Tuntematon sotilas (“the Unknown Soldier”) movie from tv and the evening you spent watching Independence day reception from presidential palace admiring beautiful dresses and dances while eating Fazer’s chocolate.

Preparation for Christmas starts early. Stores get filled with Christmas chocolates and decorations. Towns become Christmassy with trees, lights and shop windows. Christmas eve on 24th of December is the main day. Sauna and rice porridge are part of traditions as are also watching this television program where children call to Santa Claus and of course Snowman film. People visit the graveyard to ignite candles for the people passed away. Big Christmas dinners with ham, salmon and different casseroles are enjoyed with families and some visit church in the night.

Finnishness

Connection with nature 

We Finns are surrounded by nature wherever we are in the country and it’s something we sometimes take for granted. When a Finn is removed from its natural habitat, the Finn might notice the importance of nature in daily life. As a Finn myself, I find nature as an extremely important part of my everyday life and overall health. I love visiting big cities but after a certain period of time I find myself longing for nature around me. There are a lot of up sides to having pure nature. We have some of the cleanest air in the world. Again, something that we often take for granted.

 Finnish mindset

The finnish mindset is pretty awesome and peculiar. The Finnish ”Sisu” mindset is known widely around the world and many Finnish athletes represent that very well. I feel like this mindset is still living in Finland but is less and less visible in daily life as our habits have changed. Finnish people are in general a very honest population. That’s part of being Finnish.

 Uniqueness

Finland is an unique country with unique brands, products and services. We create things that are unique and new to the rest of the world, like the sauna experiences, salty liquorice, scandinavian design and events like Slush. As a country we should embrace the uniqueness even more since it’s one of our strongest assets. The ”unique” things might feel mundane to us, but everywhere else in the world they are exciting new things.

Finnish seasons

Summer

My favourite thing about Finland is the different seasons and how different the nature is. Summer is really my least favourite season. It is really beautiful but I just can’t stand the heat. I still love the lakes and the light. As a kid I spent some summers in Lapland and the nights were really nice. It is nice to spend time outside during summer months eating ice cream and watching all the beautiful flowers and trees.

 

Autumn

Autumn is my absolute favourite season! I love the weather when it is a bit chilly but not that cold anymore. Autumn is also the most beautiful with the colorful trees and ruska time. It rains quite a lot and it is getting darker but I still like it very much.

 

Winter

Winter time always lasts too long and it is really cold. Usually I like to stay indoors during winter months. In the city I don’t like snow that much since the buses might get stuck and snow is everywhere. Winter is more likeable in the countryside, especially waking up early to see the snow where no one has walked yet.

 

Spring

Spring time is not that special but not the worst really. The weather is always too cold and people always change into their summer clothes too early and then it is cold. But seeing the sun after a few months is always nice.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MozX3qFIkpQ

The way I see Finnishness

Finnishness to me is that we are great and unique nation. It includes hard working people, difficult language, interesting culture and the proud of being a Finn. The important matters to Finnish people are also sauna, nature, four different season in a year and a coffee.

Nature

The nature in Finland is famous and one of the reasons why people come to Finland. There are four amazing seasons that offers unique experience and give you peaceful mind. In winter you can enjoy for the snow and see the aurora especially in Lapland but sometimes in south as well. When the winter turns to the spring you can enjoy increasing light and see how the nature wake up again. In the summer nature is at its best and everything is green and pure. When the summer are over and the autumn starts the fall colours are beautiful everywhere and also the hunting season is running.

Safety

Finland is also know as a very safe place to live. There aren´t places that you cannot go, because everywhere people are honest and polite. You can trust  authorities and healthcare system, because there are no corruption and everyone are legitimate to have healtcare in Finland. Especially children and students are treated very well and they can have many different subsidies.

Ice hockey

Ice hockey is the biggest sport in Finland. There are over 200 000 amateur and professional players in the whole country. Ice hockey world championship tournament are an annual international tournament that is very popular and draw attention all over in Finland. Especially when Finland has won the gold medals whole country are celebrating with the team and it is huge issue long time after winning. Last championship (in this year) was one of the greatest sport achievement in Finlands history.

Finnishness in the point of view of a Finn

Finnishness in the point of view of a Finn

 

A very weird word as Finnishness can mean so much for us northerners, who are understood by no one and live a peaceful life in a place that many can’t even point on the map. Unless you’re well educated of course, no shots fired towards anyone… I’ve visited multiple countries in my short lifetime, and each and every time it’s so wonderful and funny to tell some facts about us Finns; About our personal space (Of course showing the picture of the bus stop is a must when talking about this subject), our weird sauna traditions that might or might not include swimming in a frozen lake or rolling naked in the snow, or how crazy everyone gets when Finland wins the world ice-hockey championships (hope for the best! Edit: Well turns out we won!!!). For myself, the most important traditions we have are the midsummer’s celebration (with kokko of course, see pic1) and the midwinter’s cold nights (pic 2). It’s kind of funny since both of the celebrations include the use of sauna and swimming in the lake. Doesn’t matter if the lake is frozen or not. We swim in it. Always.

pic1 pic2

 

Many Finns come across as silent and self-centred, but the reality is, after an awkward small talk session, we turn out to be one of the warmest people you’ve ever met. Seriously. And if someone after a small talk session doesn’t open up, just give him/her few beers or shots of vodka and witness the results yourself; truly warm people! Oh, and talking about alcohol, we Finns have even invented our very own alcoholic beverage, which we love so very very much. It’s called Lonkero (pic3), which is basically a long-drink, but not quite. To understand how it differs from a long-drink that can be ordered in a bar across the globe, you just have to taste it. It’s same but it’s different, and it’s better.

pic3

 

We Finns are proud of our country, but we welcome anyone for a visit or two. Anytime. And if I’ve learned something from my previous holiday trips, is that many people eagerly want to come and visit Finland after all of the funny stories I’ve told and the pictures of our nature (pic4) I’ve shown. Everyone’s welcome to Finland!

 

pic4

 

“Why would you move here?”

Not that long ago, I caught myself asking this question from this Irish guy who had just moved to Finland. What he answered is not relevant, but I think this question shows pretty well the humility of us Finns. We know that we are a small nation in the Northern part of the world, and we work hard to make people notice our existence. Still it always seems to amaze us if someone knows something about our culture or if someone is willing to be a part of it.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle finnish nightmares someone knows finland

Just about a month ago I read this article about the quotes that describe the Finnishness the best. One of them was “Ei minua varten tarvii keittää” which can be translated to “There is no need to cook just because of me”. Finnish people are usually very modest and they do not want to bother other people with their needs. This can be seen in everyday life, for example in public traffic. People do not want to sit next to people they do not know and they certainly do not want to communicate them. Even when they are sitting next to the window in a bus and want to get out. Some brave individuals might say something to the person sitting next to them, but most of the time they are expressing their need to get out by coughing or moving restlessly. Sometimes, in worst cases, this might lead to travelling couple of extra bus stops, but that is OK as long as you do not have to talk to strangers.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle finnish memes bus

The modesty can also be seen in other situations. I often overhear people talking about the problems they are having, for example with their family or co-workers. Other people have annoying habits and the Finns like to complain about them to their friends. This sounds really normal and it happens everywhere, right? The difference is that we do not do anything about it. Again, we are trying not to bother others with our own needs. This might lead to bigger problems later when the little annoying things pile up and people need to confront them.

The humility and modesty can also be seen in the following situation. Try to compliment a Finn. Or try to tell them how wonderful their country is or how well something works. Normally people would say “thank you”, if you compliment them and they might even carry on the conversation about well-working public transportation or good healthcare. “What is the reaction you get from a Finn?” you might ask. Instead of “thank you” you will get some mumbling about how “it is nothing” or “this old thing” or some argument how there should be more busses from Hervanta to Tampere City Center.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle complimenting a finn

In Finland it is very common that people speak at least two languages. We are taught English and Swedish in school and many people speak at least English pretty well. The problem with learning languages as a Finn is again our modesty and our perfectionism. We often compare ourselves to native speakers and get frustrated if we are not on the same level as them. Many of my foreigner friends have told me that they find it easy to communicate in Finland and that almost everyone they have met has spoken really good English. Despite of the good level of English, people are too shy to speak it, because they do not trust themselves to be good enough.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle finnish nightmares english

All this modesty in humility hides the fact that although we always find something wrong with Finland, we are secretly very proud of it. It is our “isänmaa” – “father’s land” and we want people to know us and our country. We are happy if someone asks something about Finland, knows someone Finnish or has visited our country. It is a topic that we do not get tired talking about. Especially when we are a little bit drunk. But we will not get into that in this post.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle finnish nightmares someone knows finland

In conclusion, we are always comparing ourselves to “bigger” or “better” things and often forget or ignore the fact that we seem to have it all figured out pretty well.

How I see Finland

In my opinion, Finland is one of the best places to stay, when it comes to conditions, the standard and the quality of life. Especially elderly people and children are treated really well in this country. In general people are extremely honest and encourage other people to have the same courtesy. The stereotype about Finnish honesty is purposeful and truthful, and Finns like to highlight it. For example if you lose your wallet here, you have way better chances at getting it back, than in many other countries. I personally have had an experience of forgetting my bank card in the ATM machine and then getting a call from a stranger that found it to come and collect it. You can’t not respect that. As it was said in another blog post, I agree that ”honesty is the foundation of a safe and functional society.” (Sahamies, J. 2019 blogi)

(https://adage.com/creativity/work//38028)

In addition to all the good benefits and support you can get from the government, Finland also provides exceptional educational opportunities. Here you can basically educate yourself to become whatever you want as long as you have the motivation and the dedication to do it, the doors are open. People from all over the world come here for the education opportunities and in some cases may even get a job and stay here. Most of the exchange students I have spoken to, have said that they love it here. The only negative aspects were the weather conditions and sometimes the food.

(https://www.tuni.fi)

Why the food? Well, Finland isn’t really known as the most food oriented country even though there are some amazing Finnish dishes, which will make your mouth water. Still, because Finnish people tend to settle for less, they don’t make a big deal out of a meal. Salt & pepper is all you need for seasoning.

Mostly the food is considered to be healthy and versatile. To people like myself who are picky with the food, it may seem a bit boring at times. People from countries where food is held in a high standard, would probably also want to spice it up a bit, since they are more used to the strong rich flavors.

(https://finnishcrashcourse.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/food-culture-in-finland-tradition-habits-and-particular-dishes-part-1/) Meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.

Finnishness to me

Finnishness can mean many things. When I think about the word ”finnishness” I get really warm feelings. Feelings that comforts me and reminds me of the safe, clean and wealthy country I am living in. But it’s not just the place. It’s the people and the culture that have shaped through the years.

Finnish people are hard working and we don’t mind from small setbacks . I believe that’s the reason of how we have survived here in the cold north. A great example is that Finland was the only country to pay war reparations after the world war 2. Especially the elder people appreciate people who work hard. Though the culture is changing and the younger ones doesn’t see eye to eye in that one.

The best thing in Finnishness is the honesty. It’s the most important virtue a one can have. I think it’s the foundation of a safe and functional society. Being able to trust the official authorities and the people you meet every day is just simply great.

Finnish people have been ranked as the happiest people on earth. And no wonder, it’s not like we smile the most or have the greatest lives, but were are usually satisfied with the basic things. We have a good social security, a great education system and a clean nature.

I think Finnishness is a great thing and we have so many things to be proud of.

Finnishness

Writing about Finnishness is actually pretty hard. I wouldn’t say that I am the most Finnish person that there is or that I am super hyped about Finland as a country but it is definitely a great thing to be a Finn. Here’s some reasons:

Nature

I am not a huge nature loving person myself even though Finland gives one of the best opportunities for enjoying it in the world. You can freely walk wherever you want to, go camping or swimming and collect berries and mushrooms pretty much anywhere for free. Still, I often find myself being amazed of the beautiful surroundings.

Finnish shyness

Finnish people are often being told to be shy and quiet. I think that is both a good and a bad thing. I personally love that you don’t have to make small talk with everyone in Finland if you are having a bad day because no one is expecting you to. It is also great that Finnish people usually have a big need of personal space and it is ok not to be the most social person ever.

Then again, it can be a bit weird for foreigners when trying to get to know a Finn. We might easily seem mean or not interested, but that usually is not the case.  I have being told so many times by my foreign and also some Finnish friends that ‘you seem so shy and focused on your own stuff but when you start to talk you just wont stop’, and I think that applies to quite many Finns. We just need a little time to get comfortable.

It’s safe in here

Finland is a safe country to live in. You can walk alone in in the middle of the night even in the big cities and you don’t have to be afraid. Finnish people are also usually very helpful, if something happens, someone will help you – though you might have to ask for the help yourself, Finns might not offer it to you without asking. It’s also safe in the way that you can trust the police and health care to take care of you. We are also offered a lot of support by the government in form of free education, maternity leaves, unemployment support and other great things which you might not get elsewhere.

Top 3 Finnish brands

Marimekko

Marimekko is a Finnish design brand founded by Armi Ratia in 1951. Marimekko is known for graphic and colorful prints for clothes and other textiles. The most known design is simple striped print called “Tasaraita”. The brand is respected amongst Finnish people and you can see people wearing it and decorating their homes with it all the time. After all these years it is still very trendy and valued.

 

Fazer

Fazer is a major company in Finnish food industry which includes sweets, bakery products, restaurants and cafes. It is founded and named by Karl Fazer in 1891 when he opened a French-Russian styled confectionery in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. Their most known product is Fazer Blue which is milk chocolate wrapped in blue paper. Fazer symbolizes Finnish quality and taste. It is a great souvenir to bring from Finland.

 

Artek

Artek is a traditional Finnish furniture company. One of the founders was Alvar Aalto, who is well known and respected architect and designer in Finland. Other founders were Alvar’s wife Aino Aalto, visual arts promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl and it was founded in 1935. For Finnish people Artek is a timeless classic. It is quite expensive brand so having Artek’s furniture in your home shows good taste in design and quality. Most iconic product is a simple and practical wooden stool.

 

All these brands have in common simple but timeless style. Classics work through time and that is what makes those brands traditional and valued from generation to generation in Finland.