Sauna - a part of Finnish culture
The sauna is an integral part of Finnish culture. This article tells you about the history of the sauna, its traditions and how it has spread around the globe. Especially in times of crisis, it is important to spend time together with loved ones in the warmth of the sauna and enjoy these well-considered moments. And after all, a good Christmas sauna is the best way to leave everyday life behind.
"Sauna" is the only Finnish word that has found its way into many other languages. This proves that sauna culture is something very unique. When the sauna in the backyard heats up, everyday life is left behind and real relaxation begins. Today, for most Finns, having their own outdoor or backyard sauna is normal. In apartment blocks, it is common to be able to enjoy the warmth at least during sauna shifts. But what was the situation really like when you look back a couple of generations?
Sauna culture has a long history
As early as the Bronze Age, people were building earth saunas, also known as pit saunas. Was the sauna invented in Finland, or has it moved north from somewhere else? There are different opinions on this. What is clear is that in no other country a sauna culture has evolved in the same way as in Finland, where the sauna is an important part of the identity of the whole nation and where it is as much a part of everyday life as breakfast and supper.
Although Finland has been a very poor country, people have been taking saunas here throughout history. Especially in times of crisis, sauna bathing has been important to people. Shared sauna moments brought light and hope to a difficult everyday life. People were born, washed themselves and even died in saunas.
In rural areas, a wood-fired sauna, for example on a lake, was a place for family gatherings, but in cities, also public saunas were opened, such as the Rajaportti sauna in Tampere, which started operating in 1906. It is now the oldest still-operating public sauna in Finland.
Saturday sauna as highlight of the week
"In the 1970-80s, private saunas with wood stoves inside private houses became common in cities. I remember that in my childhood, people only took saunas on Saturdays and usually at 6 pm. The whole block used to be in an euphoric mood when parents called in their children playing outside to take a sauna," says Kirami's Heidi with a smile.
When there were no showers in every home, the sauna was a natural place to wash. Warm water was boiled in a pot for that purpose.
"Of course, the sauna was also a place where the whole family came together to relax," Heidi continues.
The sauna was also used to take care of the sick and to do various treatments, such as cupping.
The importance of sauna nowadays
Sauna is still very important and close to the heart of the Finns. Nowadays, people take a sauna more often and whenever they want. In apartment blocks, at least, a shared sauna is common. Having your own sauna in your own apartment is not that rare either.
Many families have both a ready-made sauna in the backyard of their family home and a sauna by the lake. There are indoor and outdoor saunas, but more and more families are deciding that it's worth getting their own outdoor sauna. This can be a sauna with an electric heater or a wood-fired sauna.
Nowadays, sauna bathing is about relaxing in many different ways: taking a sauna, bathing in a hot tub and having a barbecue. The backyard has become a little paradise and a place where family and friends can spend hours together.
It's no wonder that Finnish sauna culture has spread more and more around the globe over the years. Saunas can be found not only in other European countries, but also in countries such as the United States and Japan. And the interest seems to be growing.
Sauna bathing moments together give hope
Although times have been tough in Finland before, people have always taken a sauna. Now that electricity prices have risen due to the crisis, many are thinking carefully about when to switch on the electric sauna. At least for some, a wood-fired sauna may be a suitable option in these times. But the most important thing is that even if the sauna might not heat up as often as it used to, it is these moments that we make the most of.
What if, for example, we create atmospheric moments in the sauna with a slightly larger group of friends? This not only saves energy, but also strengthens friendships. It's good to exchange ideas and talk about your worries while enjoying sauna bathing. Spending time together in the sauna can give you hope for the challenges ahead. In addition, a well-insulated sauna helps to save energy.
Kirami FinVision® Annex brings luxury to everyday life
A very stylish option if you have your own garden sauna in mind is the Kirami FinVision® Annex concept. This allows you to create a combination of different modules to suit your needs, including Nordic misty saunas, a changing room, lounge and terrace.
The word "annex" is Latin for an additional building or an extension. And this is exactly what this concept is about. A complete sauna experience with all the right elements. It's a quick way to enjoy time together, relaxing, chilling, eating well and being outdoors.
A Christmas sauna and stargazing in a hot tub
The Christmas sauna is as much a part of Finnish Christmas as Santa Claus and Christmas ham. In many families, it is customary to decorate the sauna and hallway with candles, lanterns or branches. The benches are cleaned properly. A sauna on Christmas Eve is a celebration for the whole family! The mobile phone is left waiting outside the sauna and no one looks at the clock.
If there is even snow, big windows in the sauna are a great thing, like in Kirami's FinVision® -saunas. This way you can enjoy the snowy landscape in the warmth of your sauna. In between, you can go outside to cool off and roll around in the snow. And when the sauna door is closed, the absolute highlight of the evening is sitting in the warm water of the hot tub and admiring the starry sky and the atmosphere.