Sauna and Vappu
If visiting a sauna left you cold or didn’t give you enough insight into Finnish mentality, perhaps you should witness Finnish holidays or festivals.
The increased amount of light in spring makes the nation come out of its deep thaw.
The most important holiday in spring is the two-day carnival-like celebration of May Day (in Finnish vappu).
Especially May Day eve is celebrated with boisterous drinking and funny costumes.
People have picnics in parks, drink sparkling wine and eat salty fish.
The nation, in other times seemingly introverted and silent, shows an exuberant side of itself.
While the overtly social May Day carnival fills the streets and parks of the city, the Finnish midsummer celebration makes Helsinki feel like a ghost town.
Now it is time to go to the countryside and to burn bonfires at lakeside or by the sea.
There are approximately half a million summer cottages in Finland (nearly one for every 10 citizens), and each and every one of them is in use in Midsummer.
Again, it is the eve that has the bigger role in the celebrations.
A typical Midsummer’s Eve includes a sauna bath, swimming, grilling and having a few drinks.