Customs and traditions
According to Abbreviationfinder, Finland is one of Europe’s most unified countries in terms of population and culture. Despite strong influences from, among others, Sweden, Germany and Russia, Finland has managed to retain its language and many of the Finnish traditions. However, there is a certain difference between the coastal areas which are traditionally more influenced by Scandinavian and German culture and the inner parts where Finnish traditions are strongest.
This chapter mainly deals with Finnish customs and customs. The cultures of minority people are not addressed. However, it can be noted that the largest minority, the Finnish Swedes, feel connected with Finland while having strong cultural ties to Sweden (for example, in Åland, midsummer is celebrated in the same way as in Sweden). The word Finnish means all the residents of Finland, while Finns are the residents who have Finnish as their mother tongue.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Finland, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Humiliation is a cherished attitude among Finns. Highlighting oneself is often perceived as negative. However, the image of the withdrawn Finn has changed as the younger generation takes in and adapts to the traditions of other countries.
Nature and sauna
Many Finnish customs and traditions are closely associated with nature. Especially appreciated are the many lakes and forests. It is common for Finns to rent or have their own cabin that they stay in on weekends and holidays to enjoy the tranquility and nature.
The sauna has a special position in Finnish culture and is associated with a number of positive values such as hospitality, cleanliness, relaxation and health. Traditionally, the sauna was a sacred place where you gave birth to children, treated the sick and cared for the one to be buried. The sauna could also be used as a laundry and where food was prepared that would dry, ferment or smoke. In the early 2000s, there were about two million sauna facilities in the country. It is not uncommon for a business dinner to end with a communal sauna for more informal and relaxed interaction.
Being polite and following the label is important. Every day, Finns dress relatively freely, but at invitations and business meetings stricter rules apply than in Sweden. Men are often recommended to wear dark suits and women’s costume or dress.
In Finland, you greet each other in much the same way as in Sweden with a proper handshake, by looking the other in the eyes and saying their name. In formal contexts, it may be appropriate to also use their last name, title and nine others. In private contacts it is sufficient to say the first name. It is also possible to just say hello (hei or terve) and nod. It is good practice to first visit the wife of a married couple. Hugs and cheek kisses occur sparingly and usually between people who know each other. Silences in conversation are not perceived as embarrassing but as natural.
Table condition and eating habits
Smoking is not permitted in public buildings and restaurants. Never light a cigarette in someone’s home without asking for permission. Drinking is not a must, but it is appreciated. Ten percent is an appropriate level.
The rules regarding table condition are about the same as in Sweden. You should preferably eat all the food on the plate, use the knife and fork for the most part and not have the elbows on the table. The guest of honor at a dinner should give a thank you speech (preferably a card). The guest of honor is always to the right of the host. If you are invited home to someone, it is appreciated if you bring a gift, such as flowers or wine.
Finnish food culture has traces of both Swedish and Russian influence. The tables serve everything from meatballs and sandwich tables to brisket (Russian beetroot soup) and blinis (Russian body cakes without filling). In the domestic kitchen, fish is common. Kalakukko consists of fish with dough around and mixed with pork and then baked. The stew forshmak is made on salty herring and meat from sheep or lamb. Meat of various kinds as well as mushrooms are common ingredients. Also typical are crispbread and sour rye bread as well as dairy products of all kinds.
Punctuality is assumed and appreciated. Meetings start and end in time. If you are delayed, even if it is only a few minutes, call and report the delay. Meetings are arranged well in advance and you rarely engage in cold talk, it is better to go straight to the point. Do not interrupt the speaker. Stand by your word. Oral agreements are taken as seriously as written.
Finland has pretty much the same holidays as Sweden. Red days are New Year’s Day, Thirteen Day, Good Friday, Easter Day, and Easter Sunday, May 1st, Christ’s Ascension Day, Pentecost, Midsummer Eve, All Saints’ Day, Independence Day (December 6), and Christmas Holidays (December 24-26). Independence is solemnly celebrated with, among other things, military parade, worship and ball at the president’s palace.
Other important festivities are Mother’s Day, which is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, and the Valborg Fair (Vappu). For Palm Sunday, which falls on the Sunday before Easter, the children dress up for Easter treats and walk around to the neighbors who wish good health in the coming year. In exchange, the children receive sweets. During Easter, in addition to Easter eggs stuffed with sweets, eggs, lamb and a special dessert, mamma (mummy), are made on, among other things, rye flour, rye malt and syrup.
According to Countryaah, Midsummer is called Juhannus and is celebrated in most places with a fire, but in Åland you dance around the midsummer bar as in Sweden. Juhannus is also the day of the Finnish flag and then it is also flagged during the night. The rules on general flagging and the use of the Finnish flag are very strict.
Christmas (joulu) starts on December 24 and extends through December 26. Christmas Eve happens on the 24th. Then the Santa (joulu-pukki) comes with Christmas presents. Also in Finland, special Christmas food is eaten such as rice porridge, ham, herring salad and various root canvases. A Christmas sauna often belongs.
New debate on the Swedish language
The position of the Swedish language is again questioned. The debate arises after Prime Minister Kiviniemi supported a proposal from municipalities in Eastern Finland that school students should be able to choose Russian instead of compulsory school sweetheart.
Two new nuclear power plants will be built
The Riksdag decides that two new nuclear power plants will be built and that nuclear fuel will be disposed of at Olkiluoto nuclear power plant. The construction is expected to take seven years. A broad political majority votes for the proposal, but the issue divides both government and opposition and leads to protests outside the Parliament House. One of the government parties, the Green League, votes against the proposal and thus goes against the government’s line.
Kiviniemi becomes new prime minister
Minister of Local Government and Administration Mari Kiviniemi is elected at the Center Congress as new party leader and she also succeeds Vanhanen as prime minister. The Social Democrats reject an invitation from Kiviniemi for deliberations on the country’s poor economic development.