As a Half-Finn/ Half-American and living most of my life in the United States, the scope of my perspective may be quite limited. However, I have lived in Finland for the past four years so I can comment on aspects that I enjoy of Finnish Culture.
I think experiencing summer in Finland is a unique experience is one that is special to myself, as growing up I would visit Finland often in the summer. As I have gotten older and have been living in Finland this still is true, going to the Mökki every summer is something my family and friends even from abroad make a point of doing every year.
The serenity and peacefulness of being lakeside, hopping in and out of the sauna, and drinking until the sun goes down (haha) is something that every person who has come to Finland remembers and wants to experience again.
I think the tranquility of nature here can also be perceived in the personality of the often seen as ‘soft-spoken’ cliche of the typical Finn, one who is content with the life they live.
For Finns it’s normal that almost every family owns a cottage on a lake. The cabin can be ether modern with all the luxuries or extremely primitive with no electricity or running water. Or something between those. What combines all these cottages is that they are all places for relaxation and peace of mind.
The relaxation can mean many things. In summer it is things like swimming, playing games, walking in forest, rowing, barbecue or fishing but also yard working such as chopping wood, raking leaves, cleaning, doing maintenance work. In winter the favorites are skiing, skating, toboccan sliding, snowscootering, but also plowing snow. Everyone from children to old people spend time outside regardless of the temperature that can sometimes be as low as -25 °C and even lower in northern Finland.
Oh, and it’s not a cabin at all if there is no sauna. Period. Sauna is often used every evening while staying at the cottage. Finns usually go to sauna naked with close friends or family, although in most cases grown-ups take turns by gender. It is usually a sign of true friendship that you share a sauna together, where you can’t have anything to hide or any things with you that would make you somehow unequal with the other person that shares the space. Especially in summer if the löyly* is starting to feel too hot, we run and jump naked to the lake. Some people like to swim at winter too and a hole is drilled to the ice for it.
* Löyly does not only mean the water that is yet to be thrown to the sauna stove, but also the air temperature, moisture, intensity, spirit and even the whole character of the sauna experience. When a sauna is excellent, you can say something like “you get a good löyly there”.