Valentine’s Day – A Day of Friendship in Finland
Wouldn’t it be nice to include your best friends and good buddies to the Valentine’s Day celebrations? In Finland, Valentine’s Day, or ‘Ystävänpäivä’, is not only about soulmates but remembering your friends and celebrating friendship.
In many parts of the world, Valentine’s Day is often considered as a romantic day filled with pink balloons, teddy bears, and grand gestures between lovers. In Finland, however, February 14th is the Day of Friends. ‘Ystävänpäivä’ is a public declaration of friendship.
It Started With a Card – ‘Every Friend is Worth Remembering’
Finland started celebrating “Friendship Day” in the late 1980’s and it has been officially included in Finnish calendars since 1996. The celebration is deeply rooted in the Finnish culture and Valentine’s Day is the second-biggest season for cards in Finland. The National Postal Service, Posti, employs approximately 150 extra workers for the Valentine’s Day season and millions of cards are sent to loved ones in Finland and abroad.
In 1987, The National Post Service and The Finnish Red Cross together with book and paper sellers made Valentine’s Day widely known by releasing a campaign together. The theme was “Every Friend is Worth of Remebering“. In 1993, The National Post Service released its first Valentine’s Day post stamp. Now, there is a new stamp released every year.
A small card have a great impact. Cards can express caring and they create an important sense of community. Sending a card on Valentine’s can be an expression of a desire to share the joys and sorrows of life with each other, and an attempt to cheer up the recipient.
‘Ystävänpäivä värssy’ – Traditional Verses for Valentine’s Day
‘Värssy’, or a verse in English, is a short poem that is often used to congratulate people on different occasions. Often used in cards, Valentine’s Day verses can also be sent to friends and loved ones by text message or email.
Here are some of our favourite Finnish Valentine’s Day verses:
Jos mieltä painaa tai murhe vaivaa,
niin muista vanha neuvo tää: älä niitä yksin miettimään jää.
Kanssa ystävän murheet puolittuu ja ilo ja onni tuplaantuu.
If your heart is heavy from worry or sorrow, remember this old advice: don’t spend your time thinking of them all alone. With a friend all worries are cut in half and happiness gets doubled.
Sinua kaipaan, rakas ystävä.
Tuulen kanssa laitoin tuhat viestiä.
Ne ota silloin vastaan kun tuuli hiljaa käy,
ne ovat kyllä siinä, vaik ei niitä näy.
I miss you, my old friend.
I sent you a thousand messages with the wind.
Please accept them when the wind blows gently.
They are there, even if you can’t see them.
Nothing Says True Love Like Trading Egg Whiskers
The Finnish language has some unique phrases and sayings about love. One of them is related to egg whisking.
Vispilänkauppa – To trade egg whiskers
When two Finns are smitten but they are not dating yet (oh the early days!), they are ‘trading egg whiskers‘ or having ‘pientä vispilänkauppaa‘, as said in Finnish. Egg whiskers were traditionally made from birch branches, and the bark comes off the easiest late spring and early summer.
Up to 1950’s, boys and girls went off to egg whisker forest (‘vispilämetsään‘) and good work and co-operation was seen as a path that could evolve to something more romantic. The wooden egg whisker was seen as a token for a mutual social contract, hence ‘trading’ egg whiskers.
The wooden egg whiskers were used for a lot of different tasks in the Finnish household: for washing dishes, cleaning the bread bottoms, sweeping the crumbles from the table cloth, and whisking the cream, just to mention a few. For every task, there was an egg whisker. Even after the whisker were all worn down and merely poor stubs anymore, they were still used as a ‘patasuti‘, as the small brooms for scrubbing the pots.
Remember Your Loved Ones with a FinnGoods Gift Box
Nothing says “I care” like a small package of Finnish chocolate or other Nordic goods to a friend. This is why we have created a Send as a Gift service at FinnGoods. Accompanied with a small card with your message or our own little text, we want to make sure that your package will put a smile on the recipient’s face!
- Go to www.FinnGoods.com and pick up the items you want for the package
- When you are ready, proceed to check out
- Fill in your own personal billing details
- Select ‘Ship to a different address’
- Fill in the recipient’s shipping information
- If you would like to add a special note for the recipient, write a short message into the ‘Order notes’ section
- If left blank, we can fill out a special ‘Surprise’ card with your name on it and add it to the package
- NOTE: You can send a package to a loved one living in North America even if you live outside of Canada or the US yourself. In this case, remember to select ‘Credit Card’ as the payment option
Images of the old Finnish postcards: Postimuseo
FinnGoods is a Canadian family business that brings the Nordic way of living into your home! Since 2012, we have spread the joy of the Finnish way of life in North America. We ship Finnish as well as other Nordic goods and household essentials to your doorstep everywhere in Canada and in the USA.