Finnish February Traditions

16 Feb

I’ve always liked February! In Finland this month is a proper Winter month with temperatures below freezing. I remember from school that February was filled with little treats.

Obviously, there is Valentine’s day, which in Finland, is Friendship day and therefore not just for lovers. When Valentine’s day came to Finland in the 80’s Finnish Red Cross suggested that it should include everyone, not just people in relationships. Hence, 14th of Feb has been a day to remember friends and family.

Then there is Laskiainen, the celebration 7 weeks before Easter which also used to mean the start of lent for the religious. The tradition goes that you go sliding down snow covered hills or sledging in a circle (napakelkka) and afterwards eat pea-soup with ham (the last bit of the Christmas ham according to an urban legend) and a bun filled with cream and jam.

Napakelkka

For me, the cream filled bun is the best bit of Laskiainen! These buns are very easy to make, they are normal buns that are then cut in half and filled with cream and jam (after the buns are cooled down).

Laskiaspulla

On 5th of February there is also Runeberg’s Day that celebrates Finnish National poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. For me, again, the best part of this celebration is the Runebergin Torttu (=Runeberg tart) that is very unique and very delish! I’ve never attempted to make them, but I really miss them in February. Luckily my mum buys them for me in Finland and freezes them so I can have them when visiting! There is a recipe in English here.

Runebergin Torttu (pic from Kotiliesi)

Other nice February things in Finland are school holidays and the few days before the holidays, as the eldest students Β in the 6th form leave the school and drive around towns in trucks and throw sweets to the kids. The day after, the new ‘oldest’ class has a prom after which the school winter holidays starts!

'Abit' celebrating the last day of School (pic hs.fi)

Prom

So no wonder February is a fab time to be in Finland!

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5 Responses to “Finnish February Traditions”

  1. MrsAgatha (@MrsAgatha_Sari) February 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    Thanks for adding me to your blog roll! β™₯

    I love February, next week is my winter holiday which is the biggest reason to love February! πŸ˜€ I’ve already eaten one laskiais-pulla and one Runebergin torttu, I think at least one laskiaispulla is still needed… ;D

    • nordicmum February 16, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

      Aah I had my first Runebergin torttu for this year just after Christmas! More needed x

  2. Gina @ Oaxacaborn February 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    I loved this post! I have (had) Finnish great-grandparents on my mom’s side — I never met them, and don’t know much about Finnish culture! I had to laugh at the split-pea soup mention, as my mom always made us split-pea soup in the wintertime when we were children. I never liked it. πŸ™‚ Now I see it’s part of my heritage. πŸ™‚ Perhaps I’ll have to try it again!

    • nordicmum February 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

      Thanks for commenting Gina! Yes the split-pea soup is a part of Finnish Cuisine – Thursdays are pea soup days in the school and in the army!! Glad to hear it’s being passed on πŸ˜€

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Travel to Finland with Annika of Hei Moose: A Stop on the Summer Vacation Tour « oaxacaborn - May 30, 2012

    […] recall how I first “met” Annika, but I am fairly certain it was something to do with her post about Finnish winter traditions, in which she mentions split pea soup. πŸ˜‰ This might seem a rather dubious connection, but having […]

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