Cottage life in Finland

Dear Reader.

It has been the hottest beginning of June since… well, forever I think. Finland is basking in the sun and the temperature in my hometown is a lofty 27 C today evening. And it is 7.30 pm. The sun is shining still into our garden and life is just about as jolly as it can get.

Ms. Teen left for cottage with grandma and grandpa this morning and I have to say a lakeside haven is just what the doctor ordered. But since it is still two weeks before my summer holiday starts no such luck for me.

... Read more

Happy Vappu!

Happy Vappu! Or in more common term world wide: Happy May 1st!

Vappu is an important Finnish tradition since it is one of the few festivities where the whole nation is participating in more or less carnival style. Well, at least we are all decorating with streamers and balloons, people are partying and life just seems good. The dancing cannot be compared to any carnival with formal parades but hey: at least we are moving. :-)

Vappu festivities start on April 30th and continue on May 1st. The spring is here and we can hang our hair down and just soak in the joyful moment. If you go into any of the major cities you can see the Finns letting the spring seep into their behavior, producing a relaxed, fun if somewhat loud party spirit in the city centers. Although I have to admit that for many the beverages pay a key role in the festivities..

... Read more

Palm Sunday

As is proper with a blog taking inspiration from Xmas inspired joyful feelings, I truly love traditions. In our household anything can become “we have always done this” after just one go. If not traditionalized by me then Jr. or Ms. Teen can always be counted on to remember even miniscule things as “always been, always will be”. To this effect I was so joyful this Palm Sunday when we had the biggest number of kids coming around to “virpomaan” in recent years. Last year we had so few come around I was worried this tradition is not going to last.

... Read more

Two candles on the window sill

On December 6th our nation holds the celebration for independence. We are a small nation in the past ruled by the Swedes and the Russians. As the world history entered the turbulence in the beginning of the 20th century, Finland was given the chance to claim independence. And here we are now, 93 years later:  the land of Nokia, Martti Ahtisaari and many more. It has not always been easy but our forefathers managed to secure this independent position.

And so tonight we celebrate as we usually do. Since the 1920’s the custom has been to light two candles to the window to celebrate. Many people eat a fine dinner with family or friends. Some cities have fireworks tonight. In Helsinki the president is hosting the annual Independence Ball. I will watch, as I have for years now, to see what kind of gowns the ladies are wearing this year. For a nation without Oscars etc. this is the culmination of the festivities in the North. And as always I will be amazed by the number of foreign dignitaries also attending. What a lovely way to celebrate and thanks to the modern technology we all can participate via Live TV-coverage. And most of all of course for the kids: this is a national holiday, so no school on December 6th!

... Read more

Hunting for crafts material from a Finntastic woods

My woods on HalloweenI love doing crafts. It is a good opposite to my work and gives me a possibility to relax. In the fall I do wreaths and all the year long, I love sowing. I started doing wreaths several years back by attending a class for one night in the local community center. That was the first year I found there is something to look forward to between the summer when the woods are lovely green and the spring when everything comes back up again.

Like most Finns I am fortunate to live very near woods. The city owns a lot of woods and has created recreational paths into them. In the summer time these offer a track for walking and running and in the winter time these form the basis for the cross country skiing tracks which the city keeps up. My woods start at just a 2 minute walk from our house.

... Read more

Sauna – for the body and the soul

sauna stoveIn my mind one of the most important places in a Finnish house hold is the sauna. This is a room for healing, relaxing and strengthening the body and the soul. For all the history this was the place where the Finns were born and died. In between, many an hour was spent in the warmth of the sauna, sweating and purifying again, both the body and soul. In these modern times, when birth and death are moved to be done inside the walls of hospitals in many cases, what remains are the hours spent in getting cleaner and more relaxed.

... Read more