Monday, 26 June 2006

Poor Midsummer poetry

The Midsummer was celebrated during this weekend.
Most businesses like banks, shops and restaurants closed for the weekend by mid-Friday, and even the public transports were standing still until Midsummer Day’s afternoon when they traffic like it is Sunday. No shops are open until Sunday after the holidays. Many tourists wondered about the phenomenon visiting
Helsinki during the weekend as most Finns had deserted the capital.

So what do the Finns do for their Midsummer celebration then?

No matter if you go to camping, boating or to your lodge, you just have to vanished somewhere out of town, outdoors into the great wilderness to enjoy the summer’s biggest festivity. At least the weather Gods were favourable and for first time in years the Midsummer festivities were celebrated in a warm, sunny weather in most parts of Finland.

Well, of course good food and drink are always a must, beer, pickled herring, fresh potatoes, barbequeing, fresh strawberries and then you are ready for some more serious celebrations.

The Midsummer bonfire. An old pagan custom that has survived into the modern day-living here in Finland.

The Midsummer bonfire is traditionally lit in the evening, preferably near the lakeside, in the never setting sunset to celebrate the season of light and also fertility. Midsummer night is also the night for the youngsters to pick seven flowers to keep under their pillows to dream about their future spouse…Whether this really works I do not know.

But in many places dances are also kept in the vicinity of the bonfires so you can enjoy the festivities even more to your own suiting, either join the dancers or just watch them go…collect your own flowers and sweet dreams.
Anyway, remarkably many babies are born in the month of March.

“A young maiden dancing with flowers in her hair,
with the handsome and rich young heir,
a Midsummer bonfire lit in the near,
March a new-born child will bear…”

I was never any good at writing poetry anyway...

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

The heat is on!

The celebrations of the annual graduations and schools finishing their work for the summer took place in hardly summery weather in beginning of June, and now the happy youngsters are granted sunny and hot weather up to round 30 degrees C. The Government are planning to establish a special office for warning of exceptionally hot weather. I wonder what good that will do?!?

I mean talking about heat-wave warnings, maybe a good idea but what good will it do in this country, where they hold the hottest world-championship competition in the world?!?

Can you already guess what I am talking about here?
Of course not.

Imagine, sauna, hot-hot-hot. Summer heat-wave hot-hot-hot.
And then you combine them together and there you go!

The World championships in sauna-bathing!

There actually is an annual World championship competition in sauna-bathing. It takes place here in Finland, of course, and takes place in the summer, of course. This year they are holding the 8th world-championships in beginning of august. I mean, this is taking things to the extremes again, sitting as long as possible in a very hot sauna in the summer…people are completely steaming hot and red when they come out!

Okay, here’s the funny part, it is actually not as stupid as it sounds, well maybe sitting for hours in the sauna to see who sits longest and stands most heat is, but having a steaming hot sauna-bath when it is hot is not such a stupid idea after all. I mean, you are in hotter air in the sauna than outside, so you feel like it is cooler when coming out of the sauna because of the heat you were in!
Same thing as having hot drinks in the sun actually makes you feel cooler, instead of drinking something icy cold and feeling even more hot and awkward afterwards.

So hey, the heat is on. We go sauna-bathing…You should try it too!

Friday, 2 June 2006

Finnish Parliament Centennial celebrations

The Finnish Parliament celebrated its’ centennial yesterday. Finland was the first country in the world to give both women and men equal right to vote for their representatives to the Parliament a hundred years ago. Yesterday the television was full of broadcasts of the celebrations. We were shown the Celebration session from the House of Parliament, the celebrations at the Opera and the festive buffet afterwards.

In the very first Finnish Parliament there were 19 women, how is that for equality between the sexes?!?

There is a female President in Finland, and she was re-elected in the last Presidential elections, and there are now 76 women in the Parliament.

And quite a progressive Parliament one century ago it indeed was, taken in concern that Finland by then was governed as an autonome part of the Russian Empire, to declare its’ independence at the time of the Russian Revolution in December 1917. Before that Finland was a part of the Swedish Kingdom for several hundreds of years until the war against Russia in 1809.

Now with almost a century of independence, I think the freedom has taken a few steps back since the Sufragettes straining for the right to vote with joining the EU. EU is growing too rapidly and has become too big a machinery to be a quick enough to keep up with the pace of modern life with all legislations and regulations to be carried out. Only good thing I have seen so far is when travelling abroad and not having to change the money into new currencies all the time.

Anyway, great turbulence was yesterday stirred up by one of the female members of Parliament by addressing her speech against the regressive politics in Russia and claiming that the Russian Duma has regressed back to the days of the Emperor. No reaction has yet been seen from the Russians but I expect it will come soon.

And maybe Lordi for President would not be such a bad idea after all?!?