Our first meeting was at Krista’s birthday party, so we got the chance to participate in a Finnish celebration and see how it usually goes.
First, to break the ice, we had some Finnish drinks, the ‘sahti’, which is related to beer, but still different, and some wine, that were made by Krista’s dad and tasted really good.
Than we tried some snacks, starting with the ‘hapankorppu’, which is a type of crispbread usually served with butter. The ‘leipäjuusto’, which is a kind of cheese with ‘lakkahillo’, which is a jam made of cloudberries. We tried some ‘tyrni’, which is called buckthorn in English and has a bit sour and bitter taste. We also had ‘mämmi’, which is served with ‘kerma’ (cream) and ‘sokeria’ (sugar) and is a dessert eaten at Easter and ‘ruskea pipapari’, which is gingerbread usually eaten at Christmas. Of course we also had some ‘salmiakki’, the traditional salty liquorice, which you either hate or love.
As Krista had some Finnish friends over, we could talk about the most important holidays and how they are celebrated in Finland.
Such as the 6th of December, the Independence Day, when there is huge ball at the Presidential Palace even broadcasted on television.
Or Christmas, when Santa brings presents nowdays, but actually was an ugly creature and frightened children in former times.
We also learned that May Day, the 1st of May, is an important holiday, when the last year students of high schools wear special caps and people are having picnics and partying outside.
Midsummer is also a remarkable celebration, when most people go to the countryside, make bonfires and when young girls can see their future husbands according to some folk magic.
I can say that our first meeting went really well, since we had fine snacks, learned a lot of interesting things about the Finnish holidays and celebrations and we had the chance to get to know some Finnish people and to spend a fun evening with them.