finnish tradition

My country is celebrating 100 years of independence this year and we are also achieving marriage equality on the 1st of March. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our achievements as a nation than celebrating equality and human rights. Congratulations, Finland, may there be many more victories such as this and may your freedom last a thousand years!

(yes, the Finnish flag appears backwards because she’s waving it around)


Another Finnish tradition in the more rural areas is to gather in a Kota Hut. I was obsessed with how perfect these would be back home in the rainy NW and I plan to build one someday as part of my dream cabin. The huts are a year round gathering place to cook on a wood fire and then eat, drink, and talk in the warm shelter. The various tiers of cast iron allowed for a stew to slow cook, coffee to brew, direct grilling, or indirect smoking. A wood fire cooking dream. We enjoyed this dish that included wild salmon, foraged local mushroom salad and homemade rye bread sitting on a caribou hide. Photographed for @airbnb

Watch out for witches this weekend

If you happen to be in Finland this very Sunday you might see little witches running around. These little witches (and in some cases bunnies or cats) carry willow branches that are decorated with colourful feathers and paper flowers, sometimes even with little easter eggs.

They go from door to door and wag the branches as they wish for health good fortune. Then they give one of the branches and ask for reward - candy.

It’s called “virvonta” and it’s basically the finnish equivalent to Halloween. Virvonta’s roots are in christianity and was originally done to remember Palm Sunday’s greetings for Jesus but it has picked up some witchy folklore from western parts of Finland.

Willows are thought to have magical powers and therefore they are used in virvonta. The spell is said along giving the branch: 

“Virvon varvon tuoreeks terveeks, tulevaks vuodeks. Vitsa sulle, palkka mulle.”
“Virvon varvon freshness and health for the upcoming year. You shall have the branch, I shall have the pay”.

In Finnish folklore Easter is the time of the year when witches will fly to a magical Kyöpelinvuori (Finnish equivalent for ghosts’ mountain) to strenghten their magic. That’s why children dress to witches. I mean, who else would come to your door to cast spells in Easter?

Here are me (on the right) and my childhood friend as little witches back in the 90′s:

Drew everyone’s favorite villain, Lucienosaurus from @drawfee.
Would send to drawfee but sending stuff overseas is hella expensive.

Gouache on paper, ~2 hours

Finnish Easter tradition: Virpominen!

Virvonta or virpominen is a Finnish Easter tradition for children. I guess you could say it’s the Finnish Halloween even though these two traditions don’t really have that much in common. 

On Palm Sundays, kids dress up as Easter trolls/witches/wizards and go from door to door to wish people good health and to get some candy or money in exchange. 

In addition to dressing up as witches, kids also decorate willow twigs which they can give to the house owners in exchange for sweets or small money. 

So the kids dress up, collect and decorate willow twigs and show up behind people’s doors on Palm Sunday. When the door is opened, the kids ask saako virpoa, may they “virpoa” aka wish them good health with a small rhyme. If they may, then the kids say the following rhyme (there are also some other variations but I think this is the most common):

virvon varvon tuoreeks terveeks
tulevaks vuodeks 
vitsa sulle, palkka mulle

Which is a bit tricky to translate literally but the gist of the ryme is that the kids wish the house owner good health for the upcoming year and give a willow twig for them and wish to have candy in exchange. 

Easter vocabulary in Finnish

Originally posted by trolliweirdlyawesome

Pääsiäinen - Easter
Hiljainen viikko - Holy Week
Palmusunnuntai - Palm Sunday
Pitkäperjantai - Good Friday
Pääsiäissunnuntai - Easter Sunday
Pääsiäispäivä - Easter Day
Toinen pääsiäispäivä - Second Easter Day
Juhla - party, feast, celebration
Kevät - spring
Maaliskuu - March
Huhtikuu - April
Pääsiäismuna - Easter egg
Kortti - card
Paju - willow
Pajunkissa - pussy willow
Koivu - birch
Rairuoho - ryegrass
Pupu - bunny
Tipu - chick
Narsissi - narcissus
Mämmi - traditional Finnish Easter dessert
Pasha - paskha
Verimakkara - blood sausage
Lammas - lamb
Suklaamuna - chocolate egg
Virpoa - to wish another person health and happiness on Palm Sunday by waving a willow twig and chanting a rhyme
Noita - witch
Vitsa - a decorated pussy willow twig
Loru - rhyme
Virvon varvon, tuoreeks terveeks, tulevaks vuodeks, vitsa sulle, palkka mulle! - I wave a twig for a fresh and healthy year ahead; a twig for you, a treat for me!
Näytelmä - play
Vaellus - peregrination
Messu - mass
Kokko - bonfire
Jeesus - Jesus
Viimeinen ateria - last supper
Ristiinnaulitseminen - crucifixion
Ylösnousemus - resurrection

How do you know you’re in a Finnish home?

It’s not Finnish flag in every pillow or decorative item you’ll see. Finnish flag is commonly considered somewhat a sacred item. The Finnish flag has strict law how it is supposed to be flown and taken care of. Therefore items that have Finnish flags are not really common in Finnish homes. In Finnish home you’ll probably see Finnish flags usually only in small tourist memorabilia, or when people celebrate some national flag-raising day or have really formal family party, such as wedding.

Finns like to celebrate Finnishness by decorating their homes with Finnish design. If you spot furniture from Artek and Lundia, decorative items, curtains and sheets from Marimekko, plates, glasses and cups from Arabia and Iittala, kitchen equipment from Hackman and your quilt and pillow are made by Finlayson, you can be pretty sure you’re in a Finnish home.

But if you find a sauna and it’s warming up for you, then you can be 100% sure you’re in a Finnish home. 

Some love-related words in Finnish

Because I’m feeling a bit romantic, that’s why.

Pusu - A tiny, swift kiss
Suukko - A little kiss, little longer than ‘pusu’
Suudelma - A proper kiss
Suudella - To make out
Pitää kädestä - To hold one’s hand
Hali/Halaus / Halata - Hug / To hug
Treffit - A date
Seurustella - To be in a relationship
Suhde - A relationship
Rakkaus - Love
Rakastaa - To love
Romanssi - Romance
Tyttöystävä / Poikaystävä - A Girlfriend / Boyfriend
Kumppani - A partner
Kihlat / Mennä kihloihin - The engagement / To get engaged
Häät - Wedding
Mennä naimisiin - To get married
Vihkiminen - To get married in a church, dedication
Ero - Divorce, a break up

And for a bonus. The most popular wedding waltz, häävalssi, in Finland. In Finnish wedding first dance is often a waltz and even if it wasn’t the first dance is still referred as a “wedding waltz”.

Lyrics summary: “I looked deep into your eyes for a long time thinking, maybe one day we can get married, maybe one day you’ll be on my side. We will share dearth, sorrow and happiness until we’re gone.”

sora-illusion  asked:

Random question? ehhh... how do you drink your coffee?

I don’t drink coffee. My stomach can’t handle it at all. BUT! If I did drink coffee (I’ve been able to drink it in my teenager years) I’d drink traditionally made Finnish coffee without milk or sugar. It’s super strong and yet so soft..! I’m one of the few who actually know how to make coffee in traditional Finnish way with an old coffee pot + water + coffee pot grind beans.

SO! I can make good coffee - I just can’t drink it :’DD

introverttimyy  asked:

Miten selittäisit penkkarit englanniksi?

Alright, let me introduce you to another Finnish high school tradition: penkinpainajaiset aka penkkarit!

(Note: Finnish high school is different from e.g. American high school. if you’re interested, see /tagged/finnish school system on this blog) 

Penkkarit is a celebration for the school’s seniors. It is their last official school day before they take on their study leave during which they (should) prepare for their final exams. 

Penkkarit are a bit different in every school. Usually the seniors dress in funny clothes and there is a fun celebration for the whole school organized by the seniors. There are songs, games and performances that make fun of the school, teachers and the students. Traditionally the seniors also make a fun video (abivideo) which is showed at the celebration.  

After the program at the school the seniors leave the school on decorated trucks. They drive around the city and throw candy. 

After the truck rally there might be an after party. At some schools, it is solely for the students, but in some the teachers might also take part in. What a great opportunity to see your strictest teacher completely wasted. 

But the celebration is not over yet! Many continue to abiristeily, the notorious seniors’ cruise. Which is basically getting as drunk as you can on a ship. It is a running joke that those ships never even leave the harbour but no one notices because they’re so drunk.