Tag Archives: summer

A few things about Finland

Cold, dark and lots of snow; these are the things that pop into most people’s heads when asked about Finland. To me, however, Finland has always been at its best during the summer. There are several jokes about the Finnish summer, like how short it is, but at least it doesn’t snow much, or how last year Finnish summer was on a Tuesday. Still, cold or warm, wet or dry, there’s nothing that compares to it, to me at least. Everyplace is green, and you can literally smell it in the air. Seriously, if you’ve ever wondered what the color green smells like, just come to Finland in the summer.

tampere kesä

 

Still, it is the light that has the biggest effect on people. Or that’s what I think anyway. See, most people remember Finland for how dark it is in the winter, but what they forget is how light it is in the summer. The sun just doesn’t seem to want to do down. It really is in the summer that the Finnish nature, and even more, the Finnish people, come alive. Or maybe that’s just me.

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Despite the coldness of our winter – and sometimes the summer as well, there is one food that Finns enjoy more than any other country in Europe, and that’s ice cream. Even if you look at the whole world, we eat more ice cream per person than almost any country in the world, only Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders eat more. We eat approximately 12 liters of ice cream every year, and considering the ice cream “season” only lasts approximately from June to August that is a lot of ice cream to eat. Our ice cream consumption is only rivaled by our coffee consumption, where we are undisputed winners with 10kg per person per year. In Finland, ice cream and coffee are literally their own food groups and during the summer it feels like there isn’t a street corner where you can’t find a hot cup of coffee, and a cold ice cream cone.

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Finland is full of large forests and beautiful lakes, and many tourists come here to enjoy the gorgeous nature. Despite that, you shouldn’t ignore the city life in Finland. Our cities seem small to us compared to the metropolises of the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find things to do in Tampere or Helsinki. Finns, just like the rest of the world, are busy, city-dwelling people, not some mystic nation living in the forest, in igloos, communing with wild animals. That isn’t to say we don’t enjoy our beautiful nature and everything it has to offer but sometimes ordering takeout home without having to leave your couch is just as enjoyable.

helsinki

Free-time activities and attitudes in Finland

When finnish people are compared into practically any other folk it is easy to say that we tend to be on our own quiet space. It’s not always good for us but we just like to do it like that.

We can talk if we want to…but we really don’t need to.

I am not sure why we behave like this but reasons are probably buried somewhere to the history..and it’s always good reason to blame the cold weather when feeling a bit anxious.

However i dare to say that there is also relaxed and social side under this calm surface. Especially when this long awaited sun comes out and shines all-day and almost everyday you can find us from outside lurking around parks.

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Finnish summer is full of different kind of activities and gigs and some of them are also free to join for anyone so there will be everything for everyone.

When people gather around to hangout together listening music and dancing then you can easily feel how we tend to loosen up a bit. It is easy to join a group as it is most likely that they’ll welcome you immediately.

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There is nothing better than sitting in a park with a good posse, drinking wine and sharing stories. We love to hear stories from your home country so please tell us everything! We also like to know how do you feel about Finland.

My recommendations are that be brave and go to parks to meet out new people. Especially now when weather is warm and nice then it is easy to get connected especially with younger generation.

If you’re staying Tampere i would suggest that you start from Koskipuisto or Tullintori plaza.

Welcome and i hope you enjoy your stay!

Finished with Finnish behavior?

I have thought about Finnishness a lot. I find our culture and behavior peculiar and interesting: On the other hand I sometimes feel very annoyed with our country and the way we act but on the other hand I’m extremely proud of being born in the great North and I’m always eager to have a chat about Finland.

suomi1

Okey so let’s dig in to my thoughts. These are not facts or proved knowledge. Only my experiences during these past 21 years of wandering around the globe.

People from Finland are cold. You can blame the weather and our inheritance for our behavior, but it’s a cold hard fact (see what I did there? 😀 ) that we Finns are as warm as the summer we have. We usually avoid unnecessary touching and showing affection.

I find it frustrating that in our country you have to give handshakes – not only to new acquaintances but sometimes you have to share this weird habit with relatives or even with some friends. I never thought  handshaking is something natural to human beings and it always feels a bit forced – and the worst part is that it only makes you feel uncomfortable and the situation itself might become even more awkward. Unlike a kiss or a hug might release some tension and create a connection. But you know what’s even more awkward than a lousy handshake? No handshake whatsoever. Sometimes I find myself stuck to a situation where the other person doesn’t seem too interested in meeting you and even the small effort of touching the other person’s hand seems like too much to do.

But when you finally do get to know a Finnish person (even though the part where you meet and get to know to a Finn might be hard)  you’d got yourself a life-long friend. Finnish people are so loyal and honest and they pretty much stick around, no matter what’s the situation.

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Another thing you need to know about Finns is that we are very persistent. We even have a very special word to describe the typical Finnish persistence, sisu. It means being single-minded and relentless. Quitting is something that Finns find unsettling and the job has to be done almost perfectly. This quality is good and bad at the same time: Even I can see this feature in myself even though I’m not the most typical Finn to say the least. I basically never give up and maybe some times it would be better to just say “no” than force yourself to do something unpleasant.

And most importantly. The weather. It’s a really big deal to us. You’d think that we are fine with every type of weather but the reality is actually the exact opposite. We have a tendency to complain about the weather a lot. During summer is either too hot or too rainy. During winter it’s either too warm or too cold. When it’s spring, it’s snowing. And when it’s autumn, it’s dark. This is our circle of life and we should all appreciate it more. When you think about it.. not many countries have that much variety when it comes to weather….

loska

I’m just kidding… The sleet is awful.

Okey, I just realized my list is not too positive. But you should all know Finland is still the greatest country to live in and there’s not enough slush in the world to change my opinion about it.  Imagine, we have

  • opintotuki aka study grants
  • santa claus
  • reindeer
  • mustamakkara aka the black sausage
  • summer houses
  • forests
  • thousands of lakes
  • ice-fishing
  • ice-swimming
  • blonde guys and girls
  • blue eyes
  • rye bread
  • basically no corruption
  • snowmen
  • Finnish Christmas
  • sauna
  • Finnish summer and never ending sunlight
  • oats
  • Karelian pasty
  • one of the best education systems in the whole wide world
  • one of the happiest people in the world!!!! 🙂

sauna

Yes, we are amazing. Keep up the good work Finns!

-Erika

For me the word Finnishness crystallizes in the four seasons. Finland wouldn’t be Finland without the seasons. They bring out the different sides of the Finns and their character, the nature and the culture.

Winter

IMG_6959When a Finn thinks about a winter, he often imagines an idyllic landscape with snow and frost. We remember that when we were children we could go skating, skiing and snow sliding the whole winter time but that doesn’t necessarily hold true. Especially nowadays the snowy winter is guaranteed only in the middle Finland and in Lapland.

In southern Finland there’s often frost but only a little snow. If it’s snowing heavily it probably also melts quit quickly. The temperatures range between degrees below and above zero and it’s also raining so the roads are very slippery. What we do? We complain about the weather and wish for snow and frost, like in the old days. And then it snows and gets cold (under -20 °C). And what we do? We complain because the cars stuck in the snow and it’s too cold to go jogging outside.

Some Finns living in the southern areas like snow when they want to go out for winter sports or when they wish for white Christmas. In the everyday life it just causes too much trouble. Many people living in the northern parts are so used to the snow that they don’t waste their time complaining about it.

WP_20150207_005The middle winter is quite dark in the whole Finland. The real polar night (the sun doesn’t rise at all) can be seen only in Lapland but the daylight is also quite short in the southern Finland. In addition to that there isn’t necessary snow in the South what makes the view even darker. The weather in the middle winter is often also quite cloudy.

 

 

The cold and dark days have had an influence to our WP_20170121_003culture and customs, too. In the winter the Finns spend more time indoors. We live our everyday life, children go to school, adults go to work. We also celebrate our Independence Day and Christmas quite peacefully. Some may, however, have more hilarious pre-Christmas or New Year’s Eve parties.

The late winter is often the best time for winter sports. Then the days are brighter and warmer and sun is shining more often.

Spring

20070505_0086When the summer is coming and snow is melting the nature wakes up and so does the Finns, too.  We make plans for the IMG-20150316-WA0002summer and enjoy the sunny spring days. Many Finns like to spend time doing garden work or walking in the woods and spotting the first spring flowers. In the spring many pupils and students also have a final stretch at school because the summer holidays often begin already at the end of May.

Summer

In the summer Finns are often more relaxed, spontaneous and cheerful. That may be due to the summer holidays. There’s of course many ways to spend a summer holiday. Some people want to stay in a town. They can go to a café or restaurant and e20080523_0048at at the terrace. Or walk on the town, listen to the busker and go to a park to read a book and sun themselves. Many music festivals gather people around Finland to the towns to enjoy music and the festival atmosphere.

One way to spend a summer holiday is to drive around with a caravan or a motor home. There’s a few caravanners who spend all of their free time on the road but many Finns also hire a caravan and make a one week trip to view Lapland or visit relatives for example. Or instead of a car some Finns choose a motor bike for their road trips.

But certainly one of the most popular things in IMG-20140813-WA0003summer is to go to a summer cottage. Especially many Finns want to spend the “juhannus” in a summer cottage. It’s a midsummer fest and also the day of the Finnish flag.

2014-06-27-287In many summer cottages it isn’t possible to use electricity, running water or indoor toilet. But nowadays the ever growing part of the “cottages” has the similar equipment as the primary homes and they can be used year-round. A lakeside view is a very important thing for many cottagers. In a summer cottage Finns want to enjoy the silence, peace and nature. Some just want to relax, swim and take a sauna, some want to work in the garden. Physical work outside can be a good counterbalance to indoor office work for example.

In the summer there are hundreds and hundreds of different events around Finland. Every weekend there’s something going on. Many little villages seem to be death silent in the winter but in the summer they all have their own little summer festivals. There’s many summer theatres with non-professional actors and actresses. Finns also have many crazy competitions like wife-carrying, rubber boot throwing and swamp soccer.

Autumn

IMG_0538In Finland the autumn is a time for a new start, like IMG-20141016-WA0008probably in many other countries, too. The schools begin after the summer holidays and many children and young people start at a new school with new classmates. Also many adults return to the everyday life and routines. Many social clubs reassemble after the summer break.

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The autumn and late summer is the harvest time for home gardeners. The forests are also full of different kind of berries and mushrooms. In Finland it’s a public right of access to pick them up free of charge.  The IMG_0563public rights of access include also for example swimming, hiking and angling almost anywhere. Of course it isn’t allowed to disrupt others or cause damage to forest or fields.WP_20151015_012

In the autumn when the evenings get darker and the weather get colder it’s again time to prepare yourself for the winter and light some candles.

 

 

 

I hate to generalize. I can’t imagine any characteristic or custom that all the Finns would have in common. Every Finn is an individual and they have a different culture depending on their background and the area where they live. But we all share the seasons. We don’t live in the same way year-round, the seasons influence our lives one way or another.

My experiences of Finnishness

In this text I want to tell some things that mean “Finnishness” to me.

1)      Summer and summer cottages

I absolutely love summer in Finland. Going to festivals, having picnic outside, jogging in forest, having breakfast on the terrace, coming home during the light night, eating strawberries at the market etc.

Summer is (too) short in Finland but people really enjoy it. During the summer it’s very light. The more north you go the lighter it is.

Many people have their own summer cottage. My family’s summer cottage is in Northern Finland. It takes many hours to drive there but it’s worth it. There is for example “smoke sauna”. And after going to sauna you can swim in the lake.

Turku Ruisrock 09-11.07 2010

www.festarit. org

2)      Food

There are some delicious typical Finnish foods and goodies. I love chocolate called “Fazer’s blue chocolate”. Blueberry pie is also very Finnish thing.  Many people go to the forest during summer and pick up blueberries and to make a blueberry pie. Then is also bread cheese, whipped lingonberry porridge, salmon soup, cabbage rolls, gingerbread cookies, rice pies, cinnamon buns, meat balls, rye bread…

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www.fazer.fi    

3) Nature

Nature in Finland is really beautiful. I love to go to forest for a run or walk. And it’s said that Finland is the most forested country in Europe. 70 % of the land is covered with threes.

There are also many lakes in Finland. Some people say that Finland is “the land of thousand lakes”. Because there are lots of lakes there is also fish.

Nature is important for many Finnish people. We go there to relax and enjoy the silence.

Suomi

www.rantapallo.fi