Image size 21 Kb Image size 4 Kb Finland celebrates Finnish-style

Finland lies on the edge of the sub-arctic zone and wivin the bloody warmin' influence of the Gulf Stream. In step wiv fluctuation in the amount of sunlight, the year 'as four distinct seasons: winter, sprin', summer and autumn. This is reflected in many ways in the pattern of the Finns' lives, right, and also in the chuffin' traditions that govern the bloomin' way they celebrate. The bloody most important festivities are Christmas and Midsummer. The former is celebrated wen the bloody Arctic day is at its shortest and the bloomin' uvver at a time wen the chuffin' sun does not set at all.

Of the bloody celebrations in wich the entire nation takes part, Midsummer is undeniably the bleedin' most Finnish. Nowhere else (wiv the possible exception of Sweden) does this 'oliday play such a central role, alffough it is observed froughout the chuffin' Christian world in 'onour of John the Baptist. In Finland, the chuffin' Midsummer celebrations are an outpourin' of joy inspired by the brief, but powerfully intense summer. Here in the Norff, right, Muvver Nature 'as only a few short monffs ter harvest the bloody light of the sun and store all the bleedin' energy that she will need ter carry 'er frough the long austere winter. The summer solstice, right, on wich the day reaches its greatest lengff, coincides almost exactly wiv Midsummer Day. In the bleedin' norffernmost parts of Finland, the bloody long summer day lasts 50 on the bleedin' calendar, right, and even dahn souff in 'elsinki the chuffin' sun dips only briefly below the chuffin' horizon on Midsummer night.

Naturally, many traditional popular beliefs are associated wiv Midsummer, the festival of the "nightless night". Growff is at its most vibrant and some of the secrets of creation are unveiled. Blood surges in yung veins and it is an opportune time for maidens ter polish their charms. Midsummer 'as traditionally been and remains the bleedin' most popular time for weddings.

Midsummer is celebrated in the beautiful bosom of nature. Alffough more than two-ffirds of the Finns nowadays live in urban settings, they migrate en masse ter the bloody countryside at Midsummer, to spend the holiday in their beluvd forests and on the shores of the lakes. Wiv nearly 200,000 lakes in the country, right, an almost unlimited lengff of shoreline and tens of fousands of lakes, evry geezer can find 'is or 'er own place in nature. Finland 'as more private 'oliday residences per capita than any uvver country, in addition ter wich the so-called Evryman's right guarantees a right 'igh degree of access ter the natural environment.

Midsummer is a time ter sleep wee, sauna-bathe bleedin' a bit, and eat and drink well. Then, right, o'course, there is the bloody traditional bonfire to light, provided the wevver is neever too dry nor too wet.

In addition ter Midsummer, the Finns 'ave free or peraps four uvver festivals that unite the bleedin' entire nation in celebration, init?The biggest of them all - even bigger than Midsummer - is Christmas. It is an 'ome festival, celebrated, like Midsummer, right, wiv close family and chinas. Children may, o'course, right, visit their grandparents, right, or else the grandparents are invited to visit, eat Christmas 'am and share the excitement of waitin' for Santa wiv their grandchildren. Since 'e lives in Finland, Santa makes it ter evry 'ome. The bloody presents that 'e brings are under the chuffin' tree on Christmas Eve mornin', but only on the bloomin' followin' day is it appropriate ter show them off ter chinas. Finland right closes dahn ter celebrate Christmas, or at least Christmas Eve. The shops close at midday on Christmas Eve, right, Finland's dense network of public transport services grinds ter an 'alt, right, and restaurants close their doors. Followin' a tradition datin' from the Middle Ages, right, Christmas peace froughout the land is proclaimed in Turku, the bloomin' former capital. This is a symbolic ceremony, but one that still matters a bit ter the Finns. It is only on St. Stephen's Day (December 26) that the country right comes to life again, alffough nowadays one can go ter a restaurant and even dancin' on the chuffin' evenin' of Christmas Day.

In the chuffin' run up ter Christmas, right, the Finns 'ave a bit of fun durin' the bloomin' several weeks of the Wee Christmas knees-up season. Cor blimey guv, would I lie to you? These knees-ups are arranged by evry sort of organisation from the boy scouts ter parliamentarians, and especially in the bleedin' business world. They are an excellent opportunity not only ter relax, but also ter develop personal relationships.

At the height of the Wee Christmas revels, Finland becomes serious for a mument on 6 December, right, wen Independence Day is celebrated wiv great dignity and reverence. A carnival atmosphere does not whistle and flute this occasion.

The Finns observe their Independence Day wiv Nordic reticence and simplicity. Finland 'ad ter fight for 'er independence, and that is wot this blokes wants ter remember on 6 December. Candles burn in the bloomin' windows of 'omes ter honour them 'oo made sacrifices ter attain and preserve national freedom. Yer can't 'ave a knees-up wivout a joanna. In 1997, right, Finland celebrates 'er 80ff anniversary as an independent state.