Thursday, November 27, 2008

Finland, the Country No One Knows About

Finland is a small country of only five million people. Most people don’t personally know any Finns, since there are so few of us. If you’re unsure of its’ location, look up, look way up to the top of the globe, in Northern Europe. From west to east, you’ll see Norway, then Sweden, then Finland, then Russia. If Finns are ever represented in the media, usually the accent is either done in Swedish singsong or Russian harshness. No wonder, since it’s a very difficult accent to do, even for me. Also, most are blonde and blue eyed, but not all.
Finland is the land of the midnight sun in the summer, with a festival in June. Winters are depressing, with Arctic darkness for many hours. Finns are known as the inventors of the sauna (pronounced sow-na, not saw-na). The sport of biathlon originated in Finland, when, during the Winter War of 1939 when Russia invaded Finland, Finnish snipers would dress in white, ski in, snipe at the Soviets, and ski away. Finland, though left leaning politically, with a social democratic government, is nonetheless an independent democracy, in spite of several invasions by Russia. Finns fought valiantly to defend their homeland.
Finland is a land of forests and lakes, and warm summers, due to the Gulf Stream. Finns are known to be subdued and serious, although I know many exceptions to this stereotype. Finland is the land of the composer, Sibelius, who was able to capture the feeling of winter and the land in his music. An example is Finlandia, which by the way, is NOT the national anthem of Finland, though many feel it should be. Finland is the home of Nokia phones, Fiskars scissors, Rapala lures, Arabia china, Marimekko fabrics, Aarikka jewellery, winter sports and ship building.

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