Everybody adores Finland for it’s a place exhibiting some of the greatest values of peace, justice, equality, environmental class and other values to the human race. Finland is a dream come true to many people particularly most immigrants who look forward to finding their forever home of long desired peace. Other than ranking top on human wellness and social justice, Finland is number three among the top socially just countries.
In a country where a strong belief in the humanitarian values of freedom and equality is a norm, there is no compromise of it’s ethics and beliefs. It values a strong free will to life, speech, and choices of humans and most of all the Finnish culture is serene and intriguing too. Speaking of which, if you are interested in knowing the Finnish culture, let the Sauna culture not intimidate you at all. Simply be open and say yes to everything that sits well with you without any fears.
You are new in Finland and get an invite strip and enter a small room heated to close to 100 degrees celcius. Of course, for any new bee, this would be the most unusual and awkward moment that you can ever wish for. Sitting in a room in the company of other few strangers, naked for a while to sweat sounds very uncomfortable. But this is not enough until you get yourself to jump through a small ice hole in the freezing water or maybe roll in the snow. This isn’t just not any ordinary exercise in Finland but one which is greatly valued and enjoyed.
Is sauna a culture or leisure activity in Finland?
While sauna has mostly become a leisure activity and a relaxation space to most people in the world, in Finland, it is a part of their culture. Since ancient times, saunas in Finland have remained to be a critical part of Finnish social life and its culture. There is no country where sauna is as popular as it is in Finland. At least 95% of Finns get a sauna bath every week and it is quite interesting to learn that most Finns also own a sauna in their homes.
While the focus on saunas to other people could be based on a relaxation mode, in Finland, the real idea is for cleansing. Just after a conclusion of a routine exercise before heading for a night rest, a Finn would prefer a sauna bath. Sauna helps the Finnish to satisfy their urge to cleanse their body, mind, and soul. But for some Finns it defines a perfect social meeting place with friends and family. For sure the significance of sauna in Finland has become so intense and included in the list of intangible cultural heritage in Finland.
It is next to impossible to come close to a Finnish summer cottage without a sauna. Sauna is a very important component of Finnish lives and has existed for hundreds of years. This is the major aspect that explains the existence of 3.3 million saunas against a population of 5.3 million. A sauna in Finlandcounts among the most respected territories and to most Finns, it signifies a spiritual space in Finnish culture. The only way you will be able to understand why Finnish people love spending time in the sauna is by understanding the history of sauna and its evolution in Finland.
What saunas mean to native Finish and residents of Finland
On many occasions, the value and meaning of sauna to the Finns get often misunderstood. It is not any way about flirtation or intimacy but a spiritual and cultural will of every Finn. Whether in a modern sauna or in a dimly lit wood-panelled room, you will find naked people sitting in silence and sweating.
While one person strokes him/herself with birch branches, the other could be standing there with a ladle of water to carefully splash it over the heated stones. The resulting outcome is that of a hissing sound and a wave of moist climbs all through your body. Your pours would open up slowly and your body would fill up with sweat.
The uniqueness of saunas in Finland
Each sauna in Finland has its own distinct character that determines the degree of its enjoyability. After a long week working in the harsh fields, the sauna will definitely render you a welcome relief to wash and soothe your aching muscles. The warm wooden rooms could also be accommodative at lower temperatures as well and they are sure at the centre most part of any major Finn’s life.
Women also gave birth in saunas in Finland because they of the high regard for them as being cleanest rooms in the house. Other than this, saunas are the place for purification rituals before a marriage ceremony and where the dead would be sanctified before burial. For most Finns a sauna serves as a pharmacy.
A sauna in Finland is for the mind, body, and soul and will help them calm down in this modern society full of chaos. If you are looking for a place to meditate, then a sauna will play a great role as you enter this dark and hot room that completely numbs your mouth. Children in Finland, for a very long time got teachings on the various sauna etiquettes. In a sauna you, ought not to talk or eat as most Finns have a great preference of the traditional smoke saunas.
Types of Saunas in Finland
In Finland, different types of saunas exist. The sauans take a similar architectural structure to serve the same purpose. For you to have a complete fun package in Finland, you must be in a position to understand the Finnish saunas on how they operate and their unique nature. If you have any plans to either visit or are just curious about the Finnish sauna, here are some different types of saunas;
- Smoke sauna
- Wood sauna
- Electric sauna