I could say that a new English assignment and first snow both had perfect timing. This assignment was so interesting that I thought to use it also in here.
Living abroad gave me new eyes when watching my home country as well as our culture and after I noticed how deep in me Finland is, I want everyone to experience it how it is supposed.
What kind of information or advice would you give to foreigners who are asking about?
And here are my answers….
1. Visiting a sauna
The Sauna for Finnish people is like maple syrup for Canadians. Finns genuinely respect it. As a foreigner, you should know that Sauna in Finland tends to be warmer than in other countries. Also, always when possible we prefer wood-heated Sauna. Electric Saunas are not the same as original wood Sauna’s.
The funny thing about Sauna is that even if we seem to be shy, awkward and close minded, in Sauna every Finn feels like home and they love to show our Sauna culture especially to foreigners.
But naked, slapping each other with “Vihta”. Wait, what? “Vihta”? Yes. It’s made of birch twigs and why we slap each other with it? It is based on health effects; for example it boosts your circulation, helps joint pain and removes dead skin cells. So, besides all the health effects what Sauna gives, when adding “Vihta” to it I guarantee that you will feel better than ever before.
2. Ice-hole swimming
Again one thing which shows that the Finns love to be weird. Icehole swimming is connected with the Sauna tradition. A way to cool off rapidly after staying in sauna or as a stress relief, you make the decision as long as you know what you are doing. There are many health benefits in Icehole swimming but it can be dangerous to people who are not used to swimming in very cold water. So when trying it make sure that you are with someone who has done it before. It is the safest at sub-zero temperatures!
3. Important Finnish holidays
There are many Christian and non-Christian holidays but in my opinion the main holidays are Independence Day, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, Easter, May Day and Midsummer Eve. The National day, also known as Independence Day is celebrated by Independence Day reception in the presidential palace, if you are invited you must be a special person in some way. Christmas, New Year’s Day and Easter are celebrated with traditional dishes but also similar habits adapting them to suit your preferences. May Day and Midsummer are more about fun and being outside with friends and family. Midsummer is known as a day when every Finn stays in Finland, goes to the summer cottage and light a bonfire. During Midsummer, you can enjoy night less night, skinny dip in the lake and again, take a sauna bath
4. Finnish wildlife
Finland is a country of green forests, beautiful Baltic islands, windswept artic fells and countless blue lakes but also magnificent bears, wolves, lynx, eagles, cranes and swans, as well as the world’s rarest seal. Some wildlife photographers also come here to enjoy facilities that enable them to get the spectacular shots of our amazing animals. In the national parks of Finland, which are open to everyone all year round, I assure you to experience the Finnish nature as it is supposed to be.