Introduction:

"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"


- Alan Hogan



Showing posts with label Moomin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Moomin. Show all posts

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mayweather in Finland!

I just wanted to throw a blogpost in quickly as it seems the winter in Finland may finally be over, well at least until after autumn. And no, this post has nothing to do with the recent boxing fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas, so apologies to any boxing fans who stumbled onto my blog here. I hope it was a good fight. I didn't see it myself unfortunately, I was fast asleep in bed!

Getting back to May-weather, last Thursday saw the arrival of Vappu, Finland's annual Mayday celebrations which actually begins on the 30th of April and can continue until May 1st or even longer for some folk depending on whether or not you have a strong head! It's traditionally a very Finnish affair with students past and present wearing their white graduation hats. I've been told that in the past students also had a blue hat which was worn during the winter months and then swapped for a white version on Vappu to celebrate the arrival of spring, summer and happy days. There are various styles of hats symbolising which area, academy or field you studied. For example if you qualified as an engineer you would normally have a long string and tassle attached to your hat. I think I prefer the normal white sailor type hat myself.


The traditional Finnish student hat


Of course as I studied in Ireland myself I don't have this white student hat. To my knowledge students in Ireland don't have student hats, maybe one or two junior schools wear them as part of a uniform but definately not used as graduation wear for Secondary School (High School). Nope, all we received was a certificate and a jolly good wave goodbye! Some third-level colleges and universities may have special graduation garments and hats similar to those found in the United States of America. These are usually rented though, so you would never see them worn annually on May day.

Anyway, with the absence of a white hat I decided to grab my old school tie instead and throw it on just for Vappu. Don't ask me why I still have my old tie, just a bit of nostalgia I suppose! I wasn't going to any Vappu parties so it didn't matter if it offended anyone or looked silly. With my striped-maroon St. David's school tie fitted on and a few drinks ready for some cocktail-experimentation I felt a bit like Harry Potter. My first trick was the exploding champagne bottle!!! Maybe I've just started a new trend for expats, wearing an old school tie on Vappu!

This years Vappu weather couldn't have been more confusing. I was planning a nice garden barbeque with friends for last Thursday, but then after a few pleasant sunny days this arrived on Wednesday morning and continued for most of the day. The final snow show!


  

With no option but to cancel my bbq plans I decided simply to enjoy a bottle of bubbly and some drinks indoors. This didn't stop those in the big cities from partying hard though  and to everyone's surprise the snow melted away like magic and sunshine brought joy to the land of Moomin and trolls. From what I heard there were actually a few new trolls crawling the streets of Helsinki on Thursday night! But overall throughout Finland people had a great day out. Lots of fun, balloons, good weather and of course champagne! Here's a video by a young mexican lady who went to the Vappu outdoor celebrations in the town of Lappeenranta in eastern Finland. She's explains what Vappu is all about in a more photogenic way than I could ever do!





You can read more about Vappu in Finland on my previous blogpost called 

Vappu! - May Day in Finland

Simply click on the image below!
















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- Alan
 



               
                                                             









Monday, January 31, 2011

Moomin and a groovin' on a sunny afternoon!



Most of you reading this blog may recognise the well-known character featured in the video above. His name is Moomintroll from the Moomin books and cartoons. The Moomins were created in the mid-1940's by Tove Jansson, a Finnish novelist and painter. Since then it has become a worldwide phenomenon.
Personally I never understood the attraction of the Moomins when I was young. Growing up as a child in Ireland, like many other Irish children I spent a lot of time reading comics, books and looking at the television. Back then in the 1970's Irish television consisted of two national channels and three British channels. Most of the cartoons shown were from the US or the UK. So we had a huge selection to choose from. I can remember cartoons such as Battle of the Planets, Scooby Doo, Hong Kong Phooey, Wacky Races and Spiderman from the US. And then we had the likes of Mr.Benn, Captain Pugwash and the Mr.Men from the UK. The Moomins cartoon may have been shown occasionally but I never noticed. Any cartoons about a small white hippo-like creature didn't stand a chance against the all-action american cartoons. Not on my television anyway! We also had a few european cartoons which I thought were a bit strange. They mainly came from old countries like Czechoslovakia and East Germany. I later found out that some of them may have contained some East German propaganda! 

While I ignored anything to do with the Moomins when I was young, I have educated myself a little on the characters and their creator since moving to Finland. I reckon that small white hippo-troll might be a good creation for kids after all. There's no shortage of colourful characters and imagination there, that's for sure!   

Last summer I discovered one place connected to Tove Janssons famous little characters. It was Moominworld of course, a small Moomin theme park based on an island at the town of Naantali or Nådendal in Swedish. While it costs to enter the Moomin park enclosure itself, anyone can simply walk over the bridge walkway and on to the island. There's a nice little Moomin cafe there to sit and enjoy a coffee and the sun. And after that it's only a short walk into the nice Naantali marina. Here there more cafes and restaurants, including a great little boardwalk along the marina where you can find some bars with cool outdoor seating areas. A nice place to enjoy a cold beer and hear the radio playing 'Groovin' on a sunny afternoon'.


Naantali Marina, Finland

Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to hang around all these nice places as I had to get back to the Naantali Spa Hotel were I was staying with my better half, courtesy of a nice little gift token given to us by some Finnish friends. Such was the irresistable pull of a hot jacuzzi and a few beers in the residents bar. We just couldn't help ourselves, you know??? :)

Next time I go back to Naantali, I will try to stay somewhere closer to the town centre. Here's a little video clip I made from the photos of my stay in Naantali.  



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Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.

You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.


- Alan 



                     



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The Art Garage, Finland

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