Tag Archives: peacefulness

Thoughts about Finnishness

When I think about Finnishness the first thing that comes to my mind is the peacefulness. In our culture peacefulness is appreciated in many situtations. For example we don’t care about too crowded places or too loud people. We appreciate quietness and calmness. I think that’s the reason why we love summer cottages so much. There we can enjoy the beautiful nature in all peace.

In Finland I love our four seasons. The beginning of every season feels like a new start and I think there is something magical with the midnight sun and with the darkness in the winter time. It is just amazing how much the nature changes through the year and that is something I think I will miss during my exchange in Austria.

To me Finnish people are humble and honest. I think the honesty is one of our best characters. It is important for us that you can count on people around you. Humbleness has it’s upsides and downsides. I think sometimes it would benefit us to learn to appreciate our own work and knowledge.

I think one of the best known thing from our culture is the shyness and quietness of the Finnish people. Partly I agree with this stereotype. Still I think that although some of us might be quiet, we are still very polite. I enjoy talking with people and being social, but still from time to time I appreciate the chance just to be quiet.

I think the best way to get familiar with the Finnish culture is to read the comics called ”Finnish Nightmares”. The artist Karoliina Korhonen has been able to summarise the Finnish culture pretty well!

“Finland, that’s one of the Nordic countries, right?”

When telling people that you are from Finland, many don’t even know where Finland is.  If they do the most common stereotypes about our culture and country are snow, Lapland, Darkness, Nature, Northern lights, sauna, quietness, and sometimes our great education. Yes we are part of the Nordic countries and there are similarities, but Finnish culture is unique in its own ways.

For me Finnish culture has many layers and constructs from different aspects.  Some pillars for me would be nature, traditions, peacefulness (unless we win the hockey championships) and personal space.

Nature:

As Finland has so much nature that is free for everyone to explore and enjoy, it has become a vital part of our culture and so called “Finnishness”.  There are lakes, forests, sea, fields and so many other scenery all around Finland that everyone can find their own form of nature that they like. And due to Every man’s rights (jokamiehenoikeudet) we can all enjoy the nature freely, given that we respect and treat it as a living organism that needs to be looked after. We go to the nature to find peace from the busyness of the cities and to get some exercise. Nature is integrated into our everyday lives, Finland is not called ‘the land of thousand lakes’ for nothing.

Traditions:

 

Finns are really traditional and it can be seen in our culture.  Of course culture changes as time passes but ancient traditions can be still seen in our culture even today. Sauna culture is one of these old traditions that doesn’t seem like ever going away. Sauna is part of our big holidays like Christmas and Midsummer as well as everyday routines. Other traditions like traditional dances (seen in the picture) are still danced in these events called ‘lavatanssit’. One can see that this tradition will go on because there are people from different generations attending the dances.

 

Peacefullness and Personal space:

 

Like earlier mentioned, Finns like to go out to nature to get some peacefulness in their life. I think that is one of the reasons we were voted the Happiest country in the world last year. Finns are hard working but we know how to find the balance between free-time and work and we know how to relax. People go to a summer cottage for some peace and relaxation.  With this comes the personal spaces. Finns like their own time and spending time with their selves whether it’s at home, at the cottage or in nature. We function best if we find a good balance of own time, socializing, working and free time.  Personal space appreciation can also be seen in buses: If there is a empty space somewhere in the bus, Finn will not sit next to another person but rather choose a seat all by them selves.

 

These are few points that I think means to be Finnish and tells what Finnishness is. I enjoy and respect our culture and think I will miss some of the aspects while I am doing my exchange. Let’s see shall we!

 

-Niina