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 finlandia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label finlandia. 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
 



               
                                                             









Saturday, February 6, 2010

Date with the Saami people!





Renée Zellweger chews her finger
in the title role of Bridget Jones’s Diary.

From Universal/Neal Peters Collection





Living in Finland for over two years now I am still amazed at just how large the country is. Finland has a similar population size to my home country Ireland, but is actually four times larger in area coverage.
Of course a large area of northern Finland is open to severe weather conditions in the winter months and therefore considered uninhabitable by some. Add to this the lack of daylight and it paints a grim picture of how anyone could survive winters in this northern region of Finland where temperatures can drop to between -45°C and -50°C.
I live in the most southerly area of Finland and winter here can be hard enough to bear. I honestly cannot understand how anybody can live in the north of Finland.

However this northern area of Finland we all know as Lapland has a large community with busy towns and modern infrastructure. And with a population of about 184,000 it seems that long cold winters hasn't deterred anyone from living there.
Of this quite large population living in Finnish Lapland around 7,000 belong to the Saami community. These are the people who most of us are used to seeing in photos and on TV wearing traditional red, blue and yellow lined clothing and usually occupied by reindeer herding and age-old crafts like carpentry and sowing.
However, nowadays you are more likely to see a Saami rushing around after reindeer on a turbo-quad vehicle with an iphone gps attached. And why not? These are people who welcome the use of modern devices where needed, yet they still maintain and respect old traditions.

Here's a clip about the modern Saami in Norwegian Lapland.




I don't know much more about the Saami people and I'm not qualified to write any detailed information, but since moving to Finland I have discovered that they are very much a part of a detached culture to most Finnish people. They have their own language, they even have there own TV broadcasts I believe. You can read more about the Saami here.




Lapland


This leads me on to Hollywood star Renée Zellweger.

What???....... What has she got to do with Finland you may ask?

Homeland of the Saami people


Well, nothing really.
But I was a little surprised to see her photo on Wikipedia's page about some of Finland's most northerly inhabitants, the Saami. Well actually the Saami people live in the nordic area more commonly known as Lapland, which encompasses parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

The Saami Flag












It appears that Renée Zellweger's mother, Kjellfried Irene (née Andreassen), is Norwegian-born and of Saami origin.
And today, February 6th marks the Saami National Day.
I wonder if the Hollywood star has this date written in her diary, definately a day to toast a proud part of her heritage.





And finally a little bit of modern Sami music. I'm not familar too much with the Sami culture, I think it would be great to head up to Lapland one day and say hello to all the gang. Here's some music I found on YouTube which appealed to me.





You can find out more about the Saami people and Finnish weather at these interesting links.






Thanks for reading my blog and please share it with all your friends.

-Alan

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