When it comes to Finnish culture as a whole, the whole concept of it with its breathtaking landscape, distinctive traditions, and people is rich and multifaceted. This all has molded “Finnishness” into a cohesive society. Nowadays Finland has changed as a society and taken aspects of our globalized world to evolve as a society – however, staying true to its roots as a society with rich history and culture.
As a Finn, the first thing that comes to mind regarding “Finnishness” and Finnish culture is the concept of sisu. Described as a mix of resilience, grittiness, and determination reflect demanding conditions and the sort of survival attitude that Finns have endured throughout the centuries. This is somewhat reflected still in our society – Finns are often labeled as shy, introverted, and “minding only their business” kind of people. Rather than actively seeking to engage in a social environment, the Finns choose to cherish tranquility, quietness, and modesty. Finns like to cherish silence – we rather stay silent than talk if we have a chance to choose. This is perhaps reflective of our status as a Northern sparsely populated country with less need to rely on other people to survive.
All the Finnish traits above combine in one place – a sauna. A cultural embodiment beyond the social barriers. It is seen as a place where those labels are set aside promoting a sense of letting one’s guard down and being vulnerable and pure. For me, as a place, it perhaps reflects the Finnish culture the best. As Finland is known for their nature, thousands of lakes, and the importance of connecting with it, a sauna is a continuation of the authenticity that Finland and the Finns provide.
As a proud Finn, it is also crucial to celebrate Finnishness. Festivities such as Juhannus and Vappu are important days to celebrate Finnishness and its unique traits. As Finnishness is closely related to nature and our traits as modest, humble, and introverted people – perhaps something that is not in line with the modern global world, it is even more important to cherish such unique traits. Our history has molded us into people with unique qualities and we should stay true to our roots as people intertwined with nature and the environment.