Finnish people do not have a sense of humor—a widely assumed thought.
I am half Finnish and know that humor is not the same type as my other part Irish self. It exists as tongue-in-cheek. I posted on Facebook an image of the silly, made-up St. Urho, who allegedly saved Finland’s wine crop. Uh-oh.. Would my relatives think I made fun of them?
We are Scandinavians. NOT! “We” live next to Scandinavia and share some customs, garnered over the years, but Finns are Balkans. A tinge of Turkish might explain their SISU—never give up. Also, when my mother first visited Hawaii, she was astounded they and Finns shared similar words and “smiley” eyes. Go figure.
Get Our Bearings
Finland is shaped like a summer squash, with the Arctic Circle the stem, Got it?
In Finland, education is # 1 priority. Besides their mother tongue, children learn two other languages. Older people are encouraged to continue their education as long as they live. My grandmother added to her languages and at her death spoke five.
Outstanding technology achievements. The world’s biggest catamaran was built there. Nokia, a world leader in communications is based there. The country has a large stake in the Cassini spacecraft. The New Testament was translated into Finnish in the 1500’s.
Correct way to pronounce the Finnish steam bath is “s-ow-na.”
Not everyone runs from the sauna in the altogether. If it’s your family at a private cabin on one of the 187,888 lakes—who cares? Yes, that number is correct! One lake for every 26 people. Heaven for fishing and family frolic.
Olavalinna Castle’s walls, built in the 1400’s, withstood years of cannon volleys, mainly from Russia. I’ve climbed around the cold stone steps, surrounded by its secret. A young woman, for her own protection from marauding soldiers, was sealed somewhere within the thick walls. She died there and still remains. A small shrubby tree sprouted from that spot in the wall, but was broken off in a storm. Where was the tomb?
In Sisu Mother, my friend, Lempi Kahonen-Wilson, wrote a gripping account of the Winter War in 1939. The Finns refused to allow the Soviets to build military bases on its territory, so were attacked. Lempi and her family fled their Karelian home (near the Russian border.) Survival was hard. Instead of becoming bitter, Lempi continually smiles in gratitude to God for life. You’ll find most Finns are the same way.
Thank you, God, for the gifts of each culture inside us. Blended together they make us the person we are.
“Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,…..
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,” Psa.139
Do you have more than one heritage? Leave a comment here. From one unique person to another—let’s learn something about ourselves this week.