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Life as a Finn

Finnish people are pretty individual. We might have a close relationship with our family and friends, but otherwise we might be circumspect and distant. We like to keep our own space and not to come too close to other people.

Finns are really exact. If we agree to do something on a certain date, we will do that. And we like to be on time, rather 5 or 10 minutes early, and we don’t like if someone else is late from an agreed time.

 

We are effective and we don’t like to keep our customers waiting. That’s why you can assume fast service almost everywhere you go.

Finns do not like to talk about money or politics.

There’s no small talk, and it doesn’t represent rudeness or a lack of interest.

There are no hierarchies. Everyone is equal and deserves the same amount of respect.

 You can buy wine only from Alko, which is a State Alcohol Company. We don’t tend to drink wine often, for example with a dinner. Alcohol itself is served more like on special occasions.

In Finland there’s no big income or social differences. A plumber and a lawyer can be great friends and no one thinks it’s shameful or weird.

 

Fun fact: In Finland there’s a verb called ”kursailla” and it means that when a host asks you to sit on to the table to drink coffee and eat, no one will do that. Usually the atmosphere is also really tense. I think it’s because everyone wants to show as much hospitality as possible, and we think it’s rude to be the first one drinking and eating.

Pictures attached are taken from Finland, Tampere and Nokia. They represent very well Finland’s different seasons.

My kind of Finnish culture

Nature is the most important value we have in Finland. All the forests and lakes are our pride and we want to make sure that this uniquity will pass to the next generation. The forests offers us a place to enjoy some peace and quiet and its variety serves a chance to collect the treasures of the forest in autumn: blueberries, lingonberries, mushrooms.. Especially hiking has lifted up its profile recently and it has become really popular all over our beautiful country. Hikers are privileged to see extensively what our nature is about.

We have over 180 000 lakes so it is quite understandable that we often enjoy our spare time by the lakes. You can swim, row, surf, go fishing or just enjoy the magnificent views they offer. In winter you can also go and skate on the lakes or go ice fishing.

In Finland we are privileged to enjoy the purity of nature, its drainage system and everyman’s right that allows us to enjoy freely our forests and lakes.

Finnish holidays

Each country has its own holidays, as well as Finland. Around the year Finns spend a variety of celebrations, some are known around the world, but some are Finns own story. Like everyone probably knows, Finland is located in north where the sun does not rise at all during the winter. Umh, and the winter lasts almost nine months in Finland… or at least the dark and cold time.

Fortunately, Finns have these holidays that cheer up in the middle of darkness and coldness. Okay, luckily we have also a three-month summer when the sun does not drop even at the night.

New Year’s Day

The very first holiday at the year is New Year’s Day. (First of January) The day, when everyone is tired of yesterdays celebrating and fireworks shooting. It’s also a day, when New Year’s promises keeping starts. Someones promises to save money, someones promises to start a diet. And very traditional Finn New Year’s promise is ”tipaton tammikuu”, it means that no alcohol in January. Good start for a good year!

Kuvahaun tulos haulle new year promise

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day celebrating hasn’t been very common in Finland expect for the last few years. But Valentine’s Day has become more commercial day, because Valentine’s Day gifts are bought every year more and more. In Finland, a day is usually celebrated with our friends or partner at the movies or eating. Sending Valentine’s Day cards is also common.

 

 

Kuvahaun tulos haulle valentine's day

 

 

EasterKuvahaun tulos haulle virpojatEaster is a quite big holiday in Finland in spring. Finns are not very religious nation, so celebrating is more for children. Traditional Finn Easter manner is wish another person health and happiness on Palm Sunday by tapping them lightly with a willow twig and chanting a rhyme. It’s usually done by children in quest for candy. A willow twig is decorated with colorful feathers and children are also dressed like witches or Easter bunnies. Traditional Easter food is lamb and Finnish Easter pudding, which is made of rye.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle pääsiäisruoka

 

First of MayKuvahaun tulos haulle vappuFirst of May is common westerner holiday and in Finland carnerval for a workpeople and students. Usually celebrating happens in the cities downtown and everyone is wearing their graduation caps. Traditional drinks are mead, sparkling wines and shampagne. Funnel cake is also very own Finnish thing. Families with children are usually celebrating a day in carnivals and circus where balloons is a big thing.Kuvahaun tulos haulle vappu toriKuvahaun tulos haulle tippaleipä

Midsummer

Midsummer means fest of light and midsummer. Then sun doesn’t drop at all in Northern Finland. Midsummer sauna with bath whisk made of birch, bonfire and midsummer dances are very traditional manner in Finland. Almost everybody is celebrating it at their own summerhouse with family or friends. Unfortunately, drinking alcohol is always been part of Finns celebrating. Midsummer fest have also very old magic tricks and belifies. If you roll on grainfield at the morning dew, you can see in your dreams your future husband. It is also believed that drinking alcohol drives out evil spirits, and the harvest will be the better the more you drink.Kuvahaun tulos haulle juhannusHalloween

Celebrating Halloween hasn’t been very common in Finland, expect the last few years. It’s been more like remembering departed people. The most important symbol is grinning pumpkin. Departed people, ghosts, vampires, witches and black cats are also favourite symbols. Children usually wear ghost or other costumes and go door to door asking trick or treat.Kuvahaun tulos haulle karkki vai kepponenIndependent Day

Finland’s Independence Day is very important and big day for all Finns. Finland celebrates it’s 100th anniversary on 2017. Independence is still important to the Finns and touches us because we lost more than 60 000 soldiers, most of them was young men aged 20.Kuvahaun tulos haulle itsenäisyyspäiväTraditional Independence Day program include watching movie ”Tuntematon Sotilas” (”The Unknown Soldier”), that tells of the Finnish war against the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1945.

In the evening, the Presidential Independence Day reception is shown on the TV. There is invited almost 2000 guest in every year. Usually people admire the guests gowns and always vote for the ”Castle Balls” queen and king.Kuvahaun tulos haulle linnan juhlat

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Eve and Day and Boxing Day

Kuvahaun tulos haulle suomalainen joulu

Christmas is the most biggest holiday in Finland. There is so much tradition manners and foods. On Christmas Eve usually families gather together and eat Christmas food. Christmas table’s king is absolutely ham! Also rosolli salad, rutabaga casserole, potato casserole, carrot casserole and salmon is very common. In the evening Santa Claus from Korvatunturi will visit and share gifts for children. Christmas carols, cards, costumes, get together and visiting in cemetery are traditional manners in Finland.Kuvahaun tulos haulle suomalainen joulupöytä

 

 

New Years Eve

Kuvahaun tulos haulle fireworks helsinki

New Year’s Eve is a last day in a whole year. A day when Finns celebrate spended year. Shooting fireworks and pouring of tin in to water is traditional manner in Finland. Melted tin sets fast and the shape of tin tells you a lot of what is coming on next year. Maybe it’s a coin which means a lot of money or maybe it’s a heart and you will find a love. No one knows…

Kuvahaun tulos haulle tinan valaminen

 

Diversity of seasons in Finland

In Finland we have a lot of things that make our country special and beautiful. The most precious thing is nature and how nature changes during different seasons.

In summer the days are long, bright and warm far into the night, you can see everywhere trees full of green leafs and lakes with clean water. Long and warm summer days are spend best in a cottage where you can swim, fish and relax in a sauna.

In the autumn nature begins to prepare for the winter. Green leafs on the trees will change their color to red and orange, days are getting darker day by day and the weather starts to be colder and more rainy. After warm and bright summer people are feeling more depressive and starting spend more time inside.

Usually the first snow comes around November and December. After first snow you can call it’s a winter. It doesn’t matter on which part of Finland you are living, there will be a lot of snow. The most breathtaking places will be found from the Lapland. Specially in Lapland at winter time you can see Northern lights, meet Santa Claus and enjoy from beautiful nature.

After the long winter nature begins ”to heal” from the rough conditions. Trees are growing back their leafs, grass and colorful plants are coming back to visible under the melting snow and ice is disappearing from the lakes. On the spring time days are beacoming longer and warmer. Light and warm climate get’s people more happier and lively.

Thoughts about Finland and Finnishness

Finland is place known for its amazing nature. It’s called land of thousand lakes. Many tourists are interest especially in Lapland to see winter wonderland and maybe even northern lights. We also have very clear seasons of the year. In some parts of Finland in summer sun doesn’t set even at nights and in winter sun doesn’t rise even at days.

The Finnish culture is very different compared to other European cultures. For an example in Mediterranean countries people are chatty and talk with their whole body. Finnish people are otherwise kind of their opposite, we’re bad small talkers and want to keep our own personal space as large as possible. People don’t normally talk strangers and people are not comfortable talking foreign language, even though they would know how to speak it.

Below you can see what I meant by people liking their own personal space.

So, Finnish people are quite shy, but they are also very caring and trustworthy. They want to do their best at work, in family and as persons. Maybe that is because of sisu, which kind of means power inside of you that will help you achieve and be determined. Things may be hard, but with sisu, you can do it. Finnish people are known for this and we’re proud of it.

Finns have many local foods. My personal favorites are Karelian pies and Finnish fish pasty. One of the known Finnish candy is Salmiakki, which foreigners normally don’t like (I can’t blame them). In Tampere, we have our own traditional food, Finnish blood sausage. This is also food foreigners don’t like, the name of the food sure takes appetite away.

     

Photos:

 

 

Forest and metal

Finland is the home to many lakes, forests, and most metal bands in the world per capita. It is fair to assume that these are connected as folk melodies and instruments are a very common asset and nature an equally common source of inspiration and lyrical theme in Finnish metal music. I think the phenomenon has its roots in Finns being a very down-to-earth people with a close connection to nature, as only some decades ago most of the population lived in the countryside.

It is a common misconception that Finns are a very depressed people. Statistically they’re not. I think Finns just appreciate their personal space and only speak when they actually have something to say, and this might give the impression of a very reserved people.

When talking about Finnish music, most of it, maybe excluding hip hop which I know nothing about, does sound more depressive than the international hits. That’s why I think metal suits Finland very well. Finland’s black metal scene is also very interesting and deeper underground than that of the more  commercially successful Norwegian cousins.

Moonsorrow playing in Tampere

Some thoughts about Finland

People wait all year for summer and still it lasts only 3 months in Finland. Nature comes alive and and sun never sets. Even though summer is so beloved I still can’t wait early autumn with autumn colours and foggy mornings.  Somehow I’m in love with melancholy weather with a little rain and grey weather. I love snow with a little frost but it’s the darkness I hate. Most of Finns get winter depression or winter fatigue but luckily it’s only seasonal.  I can truly admit that I need more sleep during winters. I think that’s the reason why Finns drink most coffee in the Europe. To stay awake here in darkness which lasts several months!

Summer at countryside

Cold winter
Autumn colours

I think it’s a priviledge to have such a good healthcare here in Finland. We don’t have to pay much to see doctor and we don’t have to pay at all to see the nurse or public health nurse. And because I’m a student, to see a doctor is even  cheaper. If there’s been an accident, nobody asks you if you have the insurance so you can be cured. Doctors and nurses will cure you anyway. We look after each other and we make sure that everybody has a right to have a healtcare.

My education costs me nothing. Not a single euro. Sure we have here private schools which aren’t gratis. You can still study medicine and become a doctor without that you have to pay an arm and a leg. Students can have also student allowance so you can afford to pay a rent. Not bad I would say.

Winter sport in Finland

 

Ski

Finns are a winter sports people. Cross-country skiing is very popular. Ski trails to be found in Finland all over the country. This opportunity is excellent for a townie, as they can only pack the skis and rods to the car’s trunk, jump on the driveway and drive to the nearest landing location. They are easily found, for example, by the services provided by local authorities.
Ski trails are traditionally the knife blades that practice summertime running. The length of the loops varies, so the beginner and the more experienced knuckler can be found to be a suitable alternative. The municipalities run routes on the lorries, so the conditions are okay with a very fast timetable right after the snow comes down. Many enjoy the most from skiing in a tranquil environment where you can go in peace without someone receiving or interfering with skiing. Good places for such a situation can be found in rural areas or elsewhere in the sparsely populated area.

Ice hockey

Ice hockey is very popular sports type. Ice hockey and its follow-up is a multi-Finnish winter hobby. The favorite team is closely watched. As the Finnish national team plays, the restrained Finns will be excited, especially if their success comes.

Downhill skiing

Downhill skiing and snowboarding are also very popular in Finland. In Lapland is many ski resorts. Southern Finland is also ski slopes, but they are shorter than in Lapland.

Skate

Nowadays, when there is not so much snow in the southern Finland in winter, skating has become more common. You can skate on the track or go farther to the lake to skate. Its very fun and fast.

Thoughts on Finland

What first come to my mind when someone asks me about Finland? Without a doubt I would say grayness, slush, slippery roads, rainy summers, people who look like they are always coming from someone’s funeral, ice hockey that doesn’t interest me at all…But when I’m starting to think about our country and culture more closely, it’s not that bad at all.

My favorite thing in Finland is absolutely the nature. Even I’ m not a winter lover, I can’t help admiring the shimmering snow and the “blue moments” in the winter evening. My own favorite season is absolutely the spring, when the sun is shining warmly, snow is smelting and the green color takes its own place back again.  I love those green fields and forests in the summer and the beautiful blue lakes of course. Even the rain is not only negative thing: it’s kind of nice to sit in the summer cottage reading a good book and listen the rain dropping to the ceiling. And the fresh smell after rain, oh dear!

The nature means a lot to me, but most of all I appreciate that every morning I can wake up feeling myself safe. Don’t have to worry about war, violence, political conflicts or natural disasters. I can spend days doing what I want and study the occupation of my dreams for free (except for taxes of course). I also know that I have good health care if I get injured or sick. And thanks for the equality we all have the same rights despite of gender, religion or property. So maybe next time when I’m starting to whine about the cold weather or some other pointless things I remember those good facts of our country instead.

The long dark winters and nightless nights of the summer.

When talking about Finland with foreign people I got asked a lot about Finnish winter and summer. How the winter is so dark and could and at the midsummer the sun stays up all night.

The winters in Finland are could and you never seem to see a sunlight. During October the days in Finland start getting shorter and shorter. From November to January the days are very short and dark. You go to school in the darkness and return home in the darkness, you may be lucky when you look out of the class window and see some light.

 

But even though the could and darkness may sound depressing, you can still enjoy the winter. The ground is covered in snow with a beautiful ice surface. In the winter you have multiple possibilities to play winter sports. Seeing men and women, young and old playing Ice hockey, skating and skiing it`s a wonderful side of Finnish winter. Not to forget the Lapland and the magical northern lights.

When you smell someone grilling you know the Finnish summer has started. The days are getting longer and the best part of the Finnish summer is getting closer, the midsummer. The midsummer is at the end of June and it’s the favorite holiday for many. Finns usually spends this holiday by going to cottage with family or friends. Enjoying the beautiful nature of Finland away from the city, Swimming at the lakes, grilling and going to sauna is the best way of relaxing.