All posts by Anni Ryhänen

Four seasons from a Finnish perspective

What Finnishness means to me? For me it is surviving from different kinds of weathers all year round, but also enjoying them at the same time. Everyone in Finland loves our nature, but how do we really take and feel about all of the changes? This post may or may not help you to answer your foreign friends when they ask you what is the best time to come to Finland.

The weather in Finland and how we take it, is such a big part of Finnishness. Somehow we manage to love and hate all the four seasons at the same time. Around December till February when it is super cold, we love to take snowy pictures, wear sweaters and pretend that we are in a Christmas movie drinking some hot chocolate and making snow angels. But always, every week, we have to, just have to remind ourselves and others how cold it is. Just in case if someone did not look the temperature after waking up. Even of course they did, because you have to prepare yourself every morning whether you have to wear one or two pairs of claws.

We love the snow and star skies, we love to ski and snowboard, and ice hockey of course. On winter we try to post a picture of the most coldest day of the year. Why? Because secretly, we are proud of that. We are proud about our weather and how it can literally change in one day. For example, do you think that it can start snowing in June? The answer is; yes, why not.

According to our ”We have 12 months and 4 seasons, so one season is three months” -talk, our spring starts on March. And oh boy the joy in our faces when the days start to be longer and snow starts melting away. Of course it is impossible to wear rain boots, so we have to tell out loud how wet our shoes get at this time of the year when you don’t really know, is it still winter or already summer. Can you imagine that when you wake up and go to school or work to 8am, it is pitch black and freezing cold, but when it’s time to go home, the sun is shining so warmly and you are sweating your ass off? That is the spring time in Finland and we love it, we hate it.

Oh sweet summer! Summer season is a huge part of Finnishness. Although, we are known for our cold winter and all the things happening at that time of the year, summer is actually a big part of Finnishness. We love to go fishing, swimming, boating and use the lakes a lot in the summer. The weather is nicely warm but not too hot. Going to buy berries and vegetables from marketplaces is a tradition what all the Finnish people do. In summer it’s never dark so you can enjoy the sleepless nights all summer long.

All the things listed above are 100% true, but everything has a down side as well, right? Too many times we have to wonder that is it even summer, because the weather is actually not that hot. Fun fact: still, no matter what the weather is on summer, for sure you will see us wearing t-shirts and summer dresses. We also have a lot mosquitoes flying and biting us all summer long. Finnish berries are pretty expensive, so do we actually even have money to buy them? And because of the endless light, it is pretty hard to sleep at night unless you have blackout curtains. Are you already so confused with our mindset?

Fourth season is fall. Fall is the time when we can finally be warm for the first time of the year because it is still summer but we dress like in winter. We are excited about the brown colors and hiking trips when it’s warm but you won’t die to the heat. We give ourselves a permission to shop till we drop because we need new school clothes. We start putting candles everywhere because it starts to get darker day by day. We get sad that the summer is over because we did not feel the hot summer days on the beach with our mojitos like they did in Southern Europe. Summer went by so fast, we wonder: “Did it ever even come?”

In Finland the schools usually starts on September. It is a warm month, summer month, but it is a beginning of the school year and we say that we go back to school on fall. ”See you in fall”, is the last sentence what the teachers tell you when you leave school end of the May. Why? Why we are one or two months ahead? Why we can not just leave in the present? 

All this is a part on being a Finnish. Part of Finnishness. We are silently so proud of our nature and our four seasons, but why we still complain about it? Why we can’t always live in the present? Maybe it is just a part of surviving? It’s maybe a mindset to always look for the future and forget the past. Is it our way of being humble? Only if more people here would have time to pause their lives and just look at the sky in Finland. They would start to appreciate more how incredible lucky they are to live in this country and realize that sometimes you can just live in the present and take the seasonal changes little less seriously.