My Motherland

Me on Koli (National Park)

Me on Koli, one of Finland’s national parks

 I planned to post this yesterday, but my computer and/or internet connection didn’t want to co-operate with me. And also I’ve been very busy, for example I had to go to three different grocery stores until I found the seasoning I needed to bake bread. I’ll tell you about these Christmas things in another post. This post is about Finland.

Flag of Finland

Flag of Finland. Pic was taken in a cruise one of Finland’s lakes, Saimaa.

Yesterday, the 6th of  December, was Finland’s independence day. So I decided to write something about Finland.

Little history

So happy birthday to Finland. Finland is now 95 years old. Of course people of Finland have existed long before that. Finland was a part of Sweden from the 12th century until the start of the 19th century. After that Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire until the Russian Revolution and Russia’s withdrawal from World War I in 1917. The right-wing government declared independence on 6 December 1917.

Although Finland is a small country, we have also had our own civil war in 1918. It wasn’t long. Pro-conservative “Whites” was supported by German Empire and they won over pro-Bolshevik “Reds”. Finland was planned to be a monarchy and a German King, Friedrich Karl, was chosen to be Finland’s king. But after German lost the first World War on November 1918, it was was established that Finland was to be a presidential republic. K. J. Ståhlberg was elected as the first president in 1919. In beginning of the 2012 Sauli Niinistö was elected Finland’s 12th president.

Finland took part in World War II. The Winter War took place from 1939 to 1949 and the Continuation War took place from 1941 to 1944 against the Soviet Union.  The Lapland War happened from 1944 to 1945 against Nazi Germany. Finland forced the Germans out of northern Finland. The treaties were signed in 1947 and 1948 with Soviet Union. Finland was forced to cede, for example most of Finnish Karelia.

Little Facts

Finland is in Northern Europe. Finland has land border with three different countries: Sweden on the west, Norway on the north and Russia on the east. There’s Gulf of Bothnia between Finland and Sweden and Gulf of Finland on the south between Finland and Estonia.

Suomen Kartta Alueellinen Kaupunki

Map of Finland

Finland is about 1157 km (781 miles) long, at least it’s distance between Finland’s most southern city Hanko and the most northern city Utsjoki.

Capital city is Helsinki and it’s located in the south of Finland. Euro is the currency we’ve used since the beginning of 2002.

Finland is a bilingual country. Official languages are Finnish and Swedish.  My mother tongue is Finnish, but I speak Swedish too. We have to learn Swedish at school and also English. My English is still way better than Swedish.

There are about 5,4 million residents In Finland. The Largest city is Helsinki, second largest is Espoo. I live in Turku and it’s the 5th largest city in Finland.

We have free education. In high school, polytechnic and college students have to buy studying material (books and stuff).

Suomen Leijonat, Lions of Finland!

Finland has won World Championship in ice hockey two times, first time in 1995 winning over Sweden 4-1 and second time in 2011 again winning over Sweden 6-1.

Finland has over 188000 lakes with 98000 islands.

Santa Claus has his office in the North of Finland.

Independence Day Party

I have an assumption about the way people celebrate Independence Day in USA. I know it’s on the 4th of July on summertime. I’ve made my assumptions via TV (how else). I have this image that in USA people have parties with family and friends. They have picnics and barbeques and I know that big fire works is a huge part of the celebrations in USA.

President Sauli Niinistö and his wife Jenni Haukio

Here in Finland we don’t celebrate our independence like Americans. Firstly it’s in middle of winter, so if we have good weather there’s snow on the ground and it’ll be freezing. If there isn’t snow or it isn’t snowing it would probably rain. So no parties by the beach or barbeques. In Finland we like to stay indoors and enjoy the company of our loved ones in the candle light.

Presidentinlinna itsenäisyyspäivän valaistuksessa vuonna 2011.

President residence or Presidentin Linna. Direct translation would be Castle of the president.

The president of Finland throws an Independence Day Reception party which takes place in the presidential residence. Nowadays the presidents don’t live there anymore. About 1800 persons, celebrities, athletes, diplomats, and members of Parliament and Government gets invited to the party every year. The president or the president couple can choose who they want to invite and they can also invite their friends and family.

The reception is aired on national TV. Most of the program consists of the president and the president’s spouse shaking hands with everyone invited. It’s always the most watched TV program. It’s fun to watch and criticize how the women dress themselves. It’s also a tradition have a couple of candles on the side table. We usually have some snacks too.

Our family’s tradition is to bake Christmas cookies on independence day. We eat fancy dinner and of course watch independence day reception on TV. So we don’t celebrate our Independence Day the same way as people in the USA, but this is our way and I like it.

So this post was late and my sister is coming to visit us this weekend and I just wonder if I have time to write anything else here this week. Well, we will see. On Monday I will be back for sure. Have a great weekend!

With Love SonyaBlue 

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Almost Winter Wonderland

It’s been snowing all day. I love snow. I love winter as long as there’s snow on the ground. And now there’s nothing but snow, so I’m stoked about it!

annan kuvia 2012 072

Snow makes everything so bright. Winter is so dark time here in Finland though I live in South-West. In Lapland sun even won’t rise at this time of the year. But in Lapland there’s always snow. Here in South-West of Finland snow isn’t certain anymore. I remember when I was a kid, there was snow everywhere at winter time. And we had so much fun playing on the snow: sliding down on a sled hill, building snow men and having snowball fights. Nowadays it’s always a ponder whether there’ll be snow or not.  Now I just hope this snow wouldn’t melt until spring. So we can have a WHITE CHRISTMAS. It would be awesome! I love Christmas, but I’ll write about that some other day.

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I went about hour walk today.  It was about -5 °C (23 °F), but felt colder because of the wind. I couldn’t be there longer, ‘cos wind was so chilly that my face froze. It was good exercise, ‘cos snow was up to my knees. It was quite tough walk in heavy snow. But it was great in spite of the freezing wind. Luckily wind was behind most of the time.

annan kuvia 2012 069

With Love SonyaBlue

PS. Photos aren’t the best ones’ cos there was snowing and it was too dark for my camera. I really need new equipment, but my camera will do until I have money to buy new great one.