"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 love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day in Finland .... not just for couples!

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Hyvää Ystävaänpäivää!

It's Valentine's Day once again, probably the biggest Hallmark holiday of the year. For those unaware, the term Hallmark Holiday originates in the US and refers to the greeting card manufacturers Hallmark. I'm not aware if the term is used here in Finland yet, but we commonly used it while I was living in Ireland. 

Anyway, the title of this blogpost is directed at Valentine's Day in Finland or as it's called here Ystävänpäivä. This long Finnish word literally means Day of Friendship, and that's exactly how it is perceived. So it's probably more common to receive a small token of friendship from a close friend rather than a partner. It's only a young tradition here in Finland which began in the 1980s, and still remains with the idea of friendship as it's core value. Here however, especially among young people I have noticed a slow increase in the influence of the US version of Valentine's Day. The same is even more evident in neighbouring Sweden. More and more restaurants seem to be taking 'romantic' Valentine's Day bookings and I have noticed an increase in newspaper adverts. Although don't be surprised if you still get an invite off one of your friendly Finnish inlaws!

Before I go, here's a nice photo of a Valentine's Day cake. It's made with raspberries and blueberries, yummy!  
The Finns have a cake for everything!
The recipe can be found by clicking the photo, but it's only in Finnish... sorry!!

This is my second Valentine's Day blog, my first back in 2011 was called The Unexpected Rose

Thank you for visiting my blog!!!

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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


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Going to California!

Thanks for dropping by my blog! Nice to have you here again.

There's not much happening around here these days. It's all family occasions and football matches, all happy days of course! ..... even if the mosquitoes are annoying the hell out of me!

I'm also happy about a recent art sale I made. This painting here below called 'Two Black Cats' is leaving home! A sale is a sale as they say, money in the pocket, so one must be happy! YaaBaaDabaDoo indeed!!

 Click to order a Print!

I was a little sad today however as I had to post this little painting off to an art collector in the U.S.A.
It's a painting that I have liked having in my studio and I have always enjoyed watching and listening to reactions from people who come to see it. The Finnish people seem to appreciate it's simplistic and positive message, and more importantly, it appeals to the young and old. It has also been one of my most popular paintings for prints both here in Finland and abroad. Especially so in the United States with print sales in Manhattan Kansas, Austin Texas, and Maspeth New York amongst others. And now the original painting is finally on it's way to San Diego California. I want to thank all of those who purchased prints and a special thanks to the nice lady in California who will receive 'Two Black Cats' in the post shortly. I hope they serve you well! This song is for you and my black cats....

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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 


Monday, February 14, 2011

The Unexpected Rose!

As most of us are aware today is St. Valentine's Day, and I thought I'd just write a few words about my thoughts on the matter. First of all I'll get the history lesson out of the way by just leaving a link on Saint Valentine. Any curiosities can be answered at this link. I suppose like anything related to religion and history, there's a bit of mystery and confusion of facts associated around this Saint, but all I can say is that I do know where the Relics of Saint Valentine are situated. That's an easy one, they're in my hometown of Dublin at Whitefriar Street Church. .......and if it's in Dublin it must be the real thing!

I always remember this because I used to walk past Whitefriar Street church regularly on my way to work while living in Dublin a few years ago. It was always full of tourists around this time of year, and every St.Valentine's Day they still hold a special Mass to celebrate the saint and all those who are in love in the world.

I remember being back in school and some of my classmates coming in on Valentine's Day bragging about how many Valentine's Day-cards they received in the post that day. It was normal to receive maybe two or three cards, but there were always a few boys who got a lot more. I am talking about double-figures here, and they often brought the cards in to prove it too!  I found this a little worrying as I went to an all-boy school, and I couldn't understand how any of these guys had the time to meet up with so many girls between sports and homework. Like myself, most of my close friends were struggling to find one steady girlfriend during the year, so the arrival of just one Valentine's card was a welcomed bonus. 

Valentine Cards don't have to cost much in these hard times, and after all, it's the thought that counts. Now if only they had these budget cards when I was back in school!

After the usual early stage of sending cards, a guy tends to move on to the more hardcore Valentine presents such as chocolates or flowers. Sometimes, budget prevailing, a trip to a fancy restaurant is the order of the day. Traditionally it is not unlike a guy to totally forget about Valentine's Day, or so I've been led to believe from all the female stories I heard and read about. Maybe it's the truth or maybe it's an urban legend, who knows!

This leads me on to another story, a weird one.  
It was Valentine's Day, shortly after I first came to live in Finland. I was sitting in my house having a cup of coffee when I had a visit from some of my wife's relatives. As I welcomed and greeted them into our home her uncle walked slowly over to me and handed me a big red rose. I immediately called my better half and  handed it to her. She then explained that it was actually for me. I stopped and stared in confusion at her for a minute before turning around to thank her uncle for the nice 'flower'. I had to explain that it is unusal for an Irish guy to receive flowers of any kind at any time, least of all on Valentine's Day. Well, unless he was gay perhaps, then it would look okay I suppose.  I continued at this stage to be confused and cautious. I wanted to know what this was all about. 
After several explanations everything was crystal clear. It turns out that the celebration of St.Valentine's Day isn't just reserved for lovers in Finland. This special day is called "Ystävänpäivä" which translates as "Friends Day", and it is not only a day of romance but a day to celebrate friendships, which I reckon is okay. And this totally explains why my wife's uncle gave me a present. Although I still find receiving flowers from another guy a bit on the weird side! Apparently when young folk graduate from college over here in Finland, they are each presented with a special white cap and a rose. Even the boys get a rose. So it's not such a big deal!

Have a happy St.Valentine's Day wherever you may be.
And as they say here in Finland on "Ystävänpäivä" or "Friends Day",

"Hyvää Ystävänpäivää!"

Thank you for visiting my blog!!!

My blog has been nominated for a blog competition online. It would help me a lot if you could give it your vote please. My thanks to all of you who voted for me last year. Hogan's Blog finished at a respectable 39th place! Now with the help of your vote again and the votes of others I hope to do better this year. Fingers crossed!! :)

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To Vote, just click on the image above. Once the new page has opened simply scroll down the list to find Hogan's Blog and click the small icon beside it. Then scroll down to the bottom of list and click the Vote button.

Thank you very much and please share this with 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

The Art Garage, Finland
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