The End of dark days!

Almost 2 months long polar night called ”kaamos” is FINALLY over! Polar night means the period when the sun no longer rises above the horizon. Darkness begins in the end of November and ends at the mid of January. In Utsjoki (Northern Finland) polar night lasts 52 days!
Polar night ends in Utsjoki, Finland

After long polar night, first rays of sun are worth of celebrating (photo by Jake Kanninen)

Darkness has it’s magical moments as it takes shades of blue, violet and purple. We call it blue moment of the day. Breathtakingly beautiful! After experienced polar night period, you will never be the same. By location you can count how many days polar night lasts.

From now on winter starts to turn to spring and light emerges day after day. It’s only 119 days to the opposite phenomenon that occurs in the summer months. Around Midsummer in northern Finland (approximately 21 June), the sun does not set for several weeks. In Utsjoki, a single, long summer day lasts for over two months starting from 16 May. You should experience it – perhaps by meditating – at the top of an arctic hill. There one’s heart awakens!

Four clear seasons and changes in nature are foundation of our creativity. However, counting winter as one season does not do it justice. In Lapland, winter lasts six months and during that time nature and light changes several times. No wonder Sami people consider there to be eight seasons instead of four!

Happy independence day, FINLAND!

My grandfather, Ukko

Today 6th of December is the 99th independence day of Finland! After several hundred of years under the Kingdom of Sweden Finland became a true autonomous grand duchy within the Russian Empire on 17th of September 1809. Finally 6th of December 1917 Senate of Finland declared independence from Russian rule. Since then we have had more or less complex relationship with our eastern neighbor.

Most of us have (or had) war veterans among older relatives. My grandfather (in the photo) was like most of the veterans, never spoke much of his experiences. Even though my grandparents had to leave their home and move to the west due to the wars against Russians, they survived – and Finland stayed independent! After the war my grandfather build Finland as an entrepreneur, stayed curious for new things and never lost his positive attitude.

In the evening of Finnish independence day candles are lit in windows to honor veterans. Friends and families gather together maybe for a sauna first and then for a celebratory meal… and of course to watch the annual presidential reception on television. This year’s receptions highlights Finland’s strengths including honesty, innovation, stability, leading literacy and school success, as well as abundant opportunities for the girls.
It’s great to be a Finn and celebrate the 99th independence day!

Photo: SA-kuva