Silly stunts and activities are part of Finnish summer
These Finns are crazy
Finns have a reputation around the world as being quiet and reserved. While this is partly true, Finns can also get silly, have fun and enjoy life to the fullest: after all, Finland has been found to be the happiest country in the world. Finland’s long and dark winters are counterbalanced by short, yet very bright summers, which get Finns to loosen up. As is the case with everything else Finnish, the silly stunts and activities that Finns engage in usually involve saunas and hot tubbing in some way.
Finns love competitions and various sports events, ranging from the Finnish Bucket Sneaking Championship to the World Wife-carrying Championship and the Sauna Heating World Championship. Throwing sports, such as rubber boot throwing and mobile phone throwing, are also popular. Then there’s swamp football, which is like traditional football, but played in a soft swamp instead of a pitch. After a sweaty trudge in a cold swamp, there’s no better way to soothe the muscles than a soaking in a warm hot tub and enjoying a relaxing sauna.
Finns are also known for their fondness of heavy metal music, which is reflected in the traditional Air Guitar World Championships. There are of course other Finnish events related to heavy metal music as well: one of the most peculiar is the Heavy Metal Knitting World Championships, a marriage of handicrafts and heavy music. The idea is to participate in the playing of a heavy metal band – though with a ball of yarn and knitting needles instead of instruments. The one thing that all these events have in common is that after the competition, the participants are more than likely to go to the sauna, either alone or together. And a hot tub is as good a place as any to listen to or sing heavy metal music or play the air guitar!
A hot tub and the Finnish propensity for daredevil stunts is also the perfect recipe for seafaring: in June 2019, actor Ville Haapasalo and inventor Janne Käpylehto sailed from Helsinki to Tallinn while bathing in a Kirami hot tub.
A sports crazy people
In addition to being ideal for recovering after a sports performance, in Finland hot tubs have also been harnessed for spectator sports. Veikkausliiga, Finland’s premier football division, is offering sports fans a chance to win box seat tickets that allow winners to enjoy a game while soaking in a hot tub, for example.
In Finland, hot tubbing can be enjoyed as both an everyday activity and as part of celebrations. The players of Finland’s national ice hockey team Leijonat demonstrated the latter by celebrating Finland’s third ice hockey world championship by hot tubbing – with the trophy, of course.
The sauna is part of Finnishness
Finns have a tendency to come up with increasingly silly ways of enjoying the sauna and bathing. There are smoke saunas, tent saunas, barrel saunas and traditional wood saunas, and of course Kirami’s FinVision sauna, which brings nature close to the bather. Saunas have also been built in phone booths, combine harvesters, gondola lifts and ice huts. Nowadays there are also sauna rafts, especially in inland waters, which may also include a hot tub.
The sauna is such a fundamental part of Finnishness that Finland celebrated history’s first Sauna Day on 27 July 2019. On Sauna Day, anyone could sign their own sauna up for public use and thus invite other sauna-lovers over to enjoy the sauna together. Despite the hot summer weather, over 203,037 bathers took part in the first Sauna Day.
Part of everyday life and celebrations alike
In Finland, a celebration that does not involve going to the sauna is a rare thing indeed. At some point during the evening, people will inevitably get out of their festive clothes and pop in the sauna for a spot of relaxation. Nowadays there is often a hot tub involved as well. While the sauna is a place for quieting down, the hot tub serves as a counterbalance, a place for keeping the party going. You can even incorporate hot tubs into your wedding – the only limit is your own imagination!
However, there is no need to limit silliness to special occasions alone. For Finns, the only things needed are the light of the summer night and warm weather: with these conditions fulfilled, you can safely put on your sauna cap and soak in the hot tub all night, and maybe even sing some Finnish evergreens while you’re at it! Afterwards you can wash yourself with tar soap in the sauna and whisk the dust of the day off with a birch whisk. Finns enjoy bathing all year round, including Christmas: what better way to enjoy a peaceful Christmas than to soak in a hot tub after a relaxing sauna?
Fun facts about Finland:
• There are so many saunas in Finland that every Finn could go to the sauna simultaneously.
• Finland has more heavy metal bands per capita than any other country: in 2016, the country had 630 heavy metal bands per a million Finns.
• In Finnish Lapland, the sun shines all day long during the summer. In winter, the sun doesn’t rise at all.
• Finns love ice-hole swimming: there are over 120,000 ice-hole swimming enthusiasts in Finland.
• Finland has more lakes than any other country in the world, with the precise number being 187,888.
• Every year on 13 October, Finland celebrates National Failure Day.
• The longest place name in Finland is Äteritsiputeritsipuolilautatsijänkä.
Finland isn’t the only country where people have a fondness for hot tubs, bathing and silly stunts. Japan, in particular, has also taken a shine to Finnish hot tub culture. The two countries share a similar daredevil attitude towards life: the Japanese are not adverse to rolling around in the snow after the sauna either.