Customs and Traditions of Finland
Finland is a European country with beautiful northern landscapes, numerous rivers and lakes, as well as the famous homeland of Santa Claus – Lapland. There are special traditions, customs, characters.
Finns are extremely friendly and straightforward people. In most cases, they tend to be polite, calm and correct behavior. The inhabitants of Finland highly value thoroughness and slowness in business, but this is not dictated by physiology at all (according to a common stereotype), but by common sense. Harsh natural conditions force you to carefully consider your actions in order to get the desired result.
Many people think that Finns are conservative, even somewhat old-fashioned. They tend to carefully preserve and pass on family traditions from generation to generation. Finns have great respect for their own culture, carefully observe national customs.
According to Countryaah, the population of Finland is about 5.1 million people. The most common nationality (about 93%) are Finns. Swedes also live in the country (about 6%), as well as the inhabitants of Lapland, the Saami, Karelian peoples, gypsies and Tatars.
Finland has a fairly long life expectancy, averaging 78.66 years.
There are two official state languages in Finland: Finnish, which is spoken by 93.5% of the population, and Swedish, used by 5.9% of the population. Russian, Estonian, Tatar and Karelian languages are also in use. And in the tourism and business sectors, English and German are widely spoken.
The inhabitants of the northern regions speak the Sami language. It has a special status in the country (the 1992 Sámi Language Law). For example, important decisions of the Finnish government must be translated into Sami.
About 85% of the population of Finland professes Lutheranism, 1.1% – Orthodox Christianity. Despite the undoubted predominance of Lutherans in the country, both the Evangelical Lutheran and the Orthodox Church of Finland have state status.
You can meet representatives of other religions, for example, Muslims. And about 13% of the population do not identify themselves with any of the confessions. Check agooddir for recent history of Finland.
Finnish etiquette laws are quite common for northern European countries, however, a Russian person, accustomed to wide and not too forced communication, needs to remember a few rules.
When meeting, as in many other countries, handshakes are used. In the same way, the Finns greet each other, and not only men, but also the fair sex shake hands. If you meet several people at once, you should first shake hands with women, then men. It is worth remembering that in Finland you should not start conversations with strangers.
Many gestures that are considered natural in Russian culture can be misunderstood by Finns. So, crossing your arms over your chest means demonstrating an arrogant attitude towards the interlocutor, and keeping your hands in your pockets during a conversation means showing carelessness, almost rudeness.
Finns value their personal space very much, they do not like unnecessary physical contacts. When talking, do not touch the shoulder of the interlocutor or pat him on the back, this is regarded as familiarity.
Finland values equality between the sexes. Therefore, concessions to women can be understood as an insult to their independence. So, in a restaurant it is customary for everyone to pay their bill, although you can offer a lady to pay for her, this is a courtesy.
In a conversation with a Finn, one should not use gestures too violently and raise the tone of voice, as well as interrupt the interlocutor. This is considered a sign of rudeness. According to the customs of the Finns, only commoners are allowed to speak loudly or laugh uncontrollably. A truly educated person is calm and moderately silent.
Special rules apply to guests. It is impossible to run along the path without warning. They prepare for a home reception for a long time, planning refreshments, entertainment and gifts. It is better to give locally produced goods, the Finns are very patriotic in this matter.
Finns address each other with “you” or by name. Middle names are not established.
Eating on the go is not accepted in Finland.
National Finnish holidays
- January 1 – New Year.
- January 6 – Epiphany.
- February 5 is Runeberg Day.
- April 2-5 – Easter.
- May 1 – Spring Festival “Vapunpäivä”.
- May 9 – Mother’s Day.
- May 17 – Day of Remembrance of the dead.
- May 13 – Ascension.
- May 23 – Trinity.
- June 20 – Midsummer Day.
- October 10 – Alexi Kivi Day.
- October 31 – All Saints Day. November 6 – Swedish Culture Day.
- November 8 – Father’s Day.
- December 6 – Independence Day.
- December 25-26 – Christmas.