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"Die spinnen, die Finns" is the title of a book by Dieter Hermann Schmitz, which is certainly meant with a certain wink. A certain craziness of the Suomi residents can at least not be completely dismissed from the hand. Here you just don't take yourself too seriously and you can have fun too - I think that's great. In this article I have put together a few of the funniest Finland customs and curious competitions for you.
The first thing to mention here is of course Kalsarikännit. This quite bizarre custom already spread a few years ago in the form of various pictures on social networks. But what does it actually mean? "Get drunk alone in your underwear at home" is the somewhat awkward-sounding German translation of the word Kalsarikännit. But hey, after all, not everyone can be as cool as the Finns and have their own expression for such a custom!
If you fancy a different kind of Kalsarikännit, then you should take part in my next livestream tasting. We are all connected via Facebook, even though everyone stays at home. You can get the drinks that we will taste together in our exclusive tasting package.
A really unusual Finland custom is the rubber boot throw. If we can believe Wikipedia, the tradition goes back to the 19th century when Finnish seafarers invented the throwing game. The fact is, since 1975 you can throw rubber boots as an official team sport in Finland. The first World Cup was held in 1992. Since then there have been annual tournaments. Would you have thought that the World Rubber Well Throwing World Cup even took place in Berlin and that there are seven clubs in Germany that officially offer this sport?
Can you imagine sitting in the sauna with a cool beer and sipping the can from time to time while sweating? This is a very common picture in Finnish private saunas. Of course it is - like practically everything with the right Finnish sauna - not a duty and not everyone does it, but for many a good "saunakalja" is simply part of it. Depending on how long the sauna session takes, one or two more can be added ...
Order your Finnish beer here for the next sauna session here at Little Finland.
Finland is considered the country with the most metal bands in relation to the total population. Is it really surprising to us that one day the Finns launched the World Air Guitar Championship? No. Since 1996, Oulu in northern Finland has been hosting the Air Guitar World Championship every year. Of course, not only metalheads can participate here, but everyone who is interested and who is not too bad to deliver a funny performance on stage. Since 2004, German friends of air guitar have joined together in the German Air Guitar Federation.
When it comes to a little crazy Finland customs, one should not be missing. Carrying women, sometimes also called wife carrying, is a discipline in which strength and technology play an equally important role. You already guessed it: since 1992 there has been a world championship in women's carrying in Finland, which is held in Sonkajärvi. Not only spouses are allowed to participate, but there are certain requirements, such as age and minimum weight. The races run over a 253.5 meter track, in the course of which various obstacles such as a moat have to be overcome. A championship in this sport is also held in Germany.
Have you ever heard of “Swamp Soccer”? I don't yet either. But it is actually the official international name for what the Finns simply call swamp football. From 2000 onwards, world championships will be held in Finland that attract up to 30,000 spectators and participants from all over the world. Basically, swamp football, also known as mud football or moor football, is very similar to "normal" football. Two teams, which however consist of only six players per team, compete against each other with the aim of scoring as many goals as possible than the opponent. The increased difficulty is that the field is not a freshly mowed lawn, but a muddy swamp. What delicious pleasure for the audience!
Text and photo 2: René Schwarz
About the author
René Schwarz grew up half Finnish and bilingual. The freelance writer and author travels regularly to his second home country and loves to share his passion for Suomi with others. He has been doing this on his blog FinnTouch since the beginning of 2016, where you can find numerous travel tips for Finland, interviews with Finnish artists and very personal stories. Have a look at www.finntouch.de!
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