The cultural events of Finland are mainly influenced by two types of factors: climatic and historical ones. From the historical point of view, the recent independence of the country certainly weighs, and the fact that before 1917 it was always under the control of the two powerful neighbors Sweden and Russia. On the other hand, even the extreme manifestations of the climate in these areas could not fail to have repercussions on the artistic and cultural trends of the country, both in the literary field, in the figurative arts, and more generally in folklore. The Danish domination, suffered starting from 1157, contributed to the spread of Christianity and the Gothic style in architecture (which alternates with the more sober appearance of wooden churches, often painted and decorated inside wooden sculptures, too. present in the most isolated villages and along the coasts), as well as a hegemony of the Swedish and Latin languages to the detriment of the Finnish language. In fact, it is no coincidence that we have to wait for the advent of the Reformation (the Swedish ruler Gustavo Vasa converted to Lutheranism in 1527) to have the first written evidence of the local language, which until then had been exclusively oral. However, apart from rare exceptions, all literary manifestations prior to the end of Swedish domination are in the language of the occupier. In the nineteenth century. the first feelings of self-determination are born in the country, even if politically there is only a transition from Swedish to Russian dominance. In this climate of national revenge, the work of all literary manifestations prior to the end of Swedish domination are in the occupier’s language. In the nineteenth century. the first feelings of self-determination are born in the country, even if politically there is only a transition from Swedish to Russian dominance. In this climate of national revenge, the work of all literary manifestations prior to the end of Swedish domination are in the occupier’s language. In the nineteenth century. the first feelings of self-determination are born in the country, even if politically there is only a transition from Swedish to Russian dominance. In this climate of national revenge, the work of Lönnrot, who with the drafting of the Kalevala, a sort of national epic poem born from the collection of oral stories and traditional legends from all over the country, constitutes a sort of Finnish Homer. The Kalevala will be set to music before the end of the 19th century. by Jan Sibelius, the most famous Finnish music artist. Also from an architectural point of view, the successive dominations influenced the artistic achievements of Finland. With the arrival of the Russians, the Orthodox style spreads, with Byzantine or art nouveau decorative influences, which recalls the architecture of the great palaces and cathedrals built in Russia and Eastern Europe. We have to wait until the twentieth century to have the most independent manifestations of Finnish art, both in architecture with the works of Alvar Aalto and Eliel Saarinen, both in literature, with various works and narrators that constitute a clear expression of the local genius. Among the traditional Finnish “products” exported with great success in the world it is necessary to mention the various winter sports (first of all cross-country skiing); design objects, especially in the field of crystal and porcelain products, wooden products, furniture; the sauna. In Finland the origin of education is traditionally linked to the Lutheran church and currently the country, with 99% of literacy, a very advanced school system and a very high per capita consumption of newspapers and books, is considered among the most “educated ” of the world. The oldest university is that of Helsinki, founded in 1640. Among the most modern centers, Espoo (1908) and Oulu (1959) enjoy international fame for research in science and technology. In Finland there are also seven important sites declared World Heritage by UNESCO including the Suomenlinna Fortress (1991), the ancient city of Rauma (1991), the eighteenth-century Petäjävesi church (1994) and the wooden mill of Verla (1996). Visit harvardshoes.com for accommodation in Finland.
A country capable of innovations that have a profound impact on society, with contradictory solutions but of relevant modernity, Finland also preserves numerous survivals of ancient popular culture, expression of an archaic and solemn peasant world enriched by elements from the nearby Indo-European and Germanic populations., Baltic and Slavic. The vast repertoire of traditional songs and folk dances (stigare, tantoli, kinkkaliepakko, räisälä sappo) stands out in this heritage, accompanied by the kantele, a willow bark flute or a three-stringed violin (jouhi-kantele). The narrative heritage is remarkable, which includes fairy tales, proverbs, riddles, legends and above all the runos, traditional epic songs many of which have been collected in the Kalevala of Lönnrot. The rigidity of the climate and the severity of the natural environment are also linked to the preference for athletic trials that require physical prowess, such as long marches on foot or on skis (Finland is the homeland of cross-country skiing), and the feeling deep nature that animates the national rite of the sauna, performed at least once a week in small cabins connected to the apartments, in public facilities or, traditionally, in a special hut (mokki), usually located on the shores of one of the numerous lakes, in which to immerse oneself after the sauna, for an invigorating ablution. The sauna building is an integral part of the complex that forms the traditional rural house (pörte), composed of various wooden buildings with a gabled roof, a rectangular plan and the inevitable white frames on the windows. In the annual calendar, which has undergone Swedish influence (like the regional clothes), Christmas and the summer solstice are the most heartfelt anniversaries, celebrated with songs and dances, lunches and libations. Fires and bonfires are lit on the feast of St. John and at Easter. The Lapps they are characterized by autonomous customs, preserved intact even in the most aggressive urbanization areas. Among the cultural and folkloric aspects of this population we remember the traditional shamanic religion, whose ceremonies are accompanied by the ritual sound of the drum; the lavvu, typical houses made up of a birch wood skeleton covered with reindeer skins or woven wool; the numerous local handicrafts (duodji), including knives, silver jewelry, pullovers and wool hats; foods such as dried reindeer meat, herring, salmon and jams. Among the most important Lapland cities is Rovaniemi, located on the Arctic Circle and known by children all over the world for being the place where the home of Santa Claus is located (Santa Claus). The craftsmanship of wood, metal and carpets are very widespread. Folklore studies have an illustrious tradition in Finland: in addition to the aforementioned E. Lönnrot, J. and K. Krohn and A. Aarne are worthy of note. In Helsinki the National Museum collects, with historical relics, a vast material of ethnographic interest; an open-air folklore museum is on the islet of Seurasaari. § The cuisine, rich in fish dishes, both sea and fresh water (such as kalakukko, a true national dish consisting of a pie of fish and meat, and siika, raw and slightly salted salmon), includes other typical dishes such as talkkuna (uncooked cereal porridge soaked in curdled milk), karjalan (mixed meat), poronkieltä (reindeer tongue with lemon sauce) and other game dishes. There is a large consumption of herring, mushrooms, vegetables and legumes (in the short summer), homemade desserts, jams and preserves. Curdled milk and malt beer are the most popular drinks; follow cider, Prunus arctic (a species of juniper), the Mesimarja and lakka, liquors extracted from raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.