Minh My: Welcome you to our weekly show of Culture Rendezvous. First of all, can you please introduce about yourself?
Thu Pham: Hi, my name is Thu and I am currently a final year student in Finland and now I am staying in Vietnam because, as you know, the COVID situation that is going on in the world right now.
Minh My: We all hope that the situation will soon get back to normal as it was so we can freely travel to many different places right? Could you share with us your experience of Finnish culture? Do the Finns love partying or drinking?
Thu Pham: Yes, the Finns kind of love to go out at night and party. They love drinking too. The Finns have a lot of pubs, and they love to go to night clubs. All the clubs are open, sometimes until four or even six in the morning. It is sort of the drinking culture for them. They love drinking really heavy liquor.
Minh My: Can you name some famous liquor brands there?
Thu Pham: There is one that is really famous called Finlandia. If you are in the airport, you can easily find that brand there. Finlandia is a famous brand of Vodka there. It is not really heavy, it is about 40% proof.
Minh My: Are there any Finnish dishes that really impressed you?
Thu Pham: I wasn’t really impressed by any of their main courses, but there are some really famous side dishes or treats. One of the things is called the Karelian Pie. This is the name of a region in Finland. It is the pie of that region. But it is enjoyed across the whole country. It is kind of tart with rice inside. It tastes really nice. You can easily find it in any super market there. They also have the candy that’s called salty liquorice. It is black. Actually, most foreigners hate it. The first time they taste it, most of them want to throw up. It is kind of weird, but I love it. It is just pure black. Just maybe a thing that the Finns love but foreigners don’t. I think in the morning they eat some bread, just toast or something. Some families do enjoy Karelian Pie, as I said earlier. Some sauces made of egg. One of the most popular things you can find in Finland is Salmon and some Ice fish. So they make casserole with potato and fish.
Minh My: What is the weather like in Finland? Is that true that summer is really short in Finland? And how do the Finns enjoy their summer vacation?
Thu Pham: They have about two weeks of summer. The temperature often goes above 20. The hottest day in summer can be 34-35 DC. The summer in Finland is really beautiful, although it is really short. The air is really fresh. All the lakes are defrosted. It is just purely beautiful. The Finns love to enjoy their summer vacation in a summer cottage. Many families have their own piece of forest. In Finland I think 70 percent of their land is forest. Also, there are many lakes in Finland, like a thousand lakes there. They have a small cottage inside that piece of land in the forest where they usually enjoy their summer vacation. I think that is a very healthy lifestyle and culture of them. They often stay there for a couple of weeks.
Minh My: What about winter? Is this true that it normally snows for 5-6 months a year?
Thu Pham: Most of the time it is really cold. Minus 40 DC but I have never experienced that cold. The lowest I have ever experienced is about minus 30 DC. Actually, if you live there long enough you don’t feel it. I often worked outside, but I didn’t feel really cold. Actually, there is one interesting thing that can be really weird for other parents around the world. The parents in Finland sometimes leave their newborn children in a stroller and leave them outside in the cold weather while they enjoy something inside the coffee shop. They think that the cold weather is really fresh and good for the baby. They stuff their children very nicely with cloth when they leave the baby outside and let them sleep.
Minh My: Is Sauna also another unique feature of Finnish culture?
Thu Pham: Yes, something that I forgot to mention about the Finnish culture, a really important thing is the Sauna. Sauna actually originated from Finland, I think maybe due to the cold weather they have. Almost every Finnish house has the sauna inside. Even students accommodation like ours, had a sauna in the basement. The Finns just love sauna so they go there during the cold days. Some people say that after the sauna they would go out and jump down into a cold lake. Every house has a small sauna room. They have some hot rocks and bring the water inside to steam up. The sauna temperature of course depends on the person, but it can get up to 120 or 150 inside that room. Plain and simple, the Finns love sauna. And you will find a sauna in every corner of the country, even in libraries and museums.
Minh My: Thank you very much for talking to us today about Finnish culture. Hope to have you here with us again on VOV24/7 culture Rendezvous with more interesting stories.