When I think about Finland and Finnishness the first thing that comes to my mind is sauna. I don’t think there is a single Finn who has never been to a sauna in their life. It is a place to get together and relax. In a sauna, you might even hear a Finn talking to a person they don’t know! For me, sauna has always been an important part of my life. When I was a kid, my family went to the sauna twice a week, always on the same days, Wednesday and Sunday.
Nothing still beats the good old sauna at a summer cottage. After a nice and relaxing time in the heat of the sauna, it is nice to cool down by jumping into a lake. Sauna and lake are indeed an amazing combination and luckily lakes aren’t hard to find in Finland. We love the combination so much that at wintertime we drill a hole in the ice and jump into the freezing water. It is also good to bear in mind that in Finland you go to sauna naked. We Finns are very comfortable with nakedness and it is not uncommon to have both men and women together in the sauna naked.
Another thing that came to mind when I thought of Finnishness was summer and in particular the midnight sun. It is amazing how at the summertime everything in Finland comes so alive, even the people! In the south the sun still sets for a short moment, but in the north the sun will not go down at all during midsummer. Sleeping might come a bit harder during summer when your body doesn’t know if it is day or night, but I absolutely love the amount of light we have during the summer. It is something a Finn must enjoy as much as they can, as the winter that follows won’t have much light to offer.