For Finland, winter is the longest season, lasting for roughly one hundred days in the southwestern region of the country and roughly two hundred days in Lapland. Close to the Arctic Circle, there are also of course polar nights which involve days of complete darkness.
As a result of these cold and dark nights, Finns have adapted to indoor leisure over the centuries.
In neighbouring Scandinavian countries, concepts such as hygge and lagom have become increasingly popular as countries around the world take inspiration in the ways in which Nords, including the Finns, are able to enjoy the indoor environment.
There is nothing quite like entering a sauna on a frigid winter’s day – saunas provide warmth, relaxation for aching muscles, comfort, and release, and are the perfect way to end a cold winter’s day. Finnish saunas are such a large part of the culture that they are even part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List as of 17 December 2020. Traditional saunas in Finland are typically heated by wood which is burned in a custom stove.
Many Finnish people regularly go to the saunas and a huge proportion of the population even have saunas in their homes or on their properties. If you are looking to relax, sweat out your concerns, and unknot your muscles, going to the sauna is one of the best possible things you can do.
Kalsarikänni is a Finnish word which translates to roughly mean “drinking at home alone in your underwear”. While Kalsarikänni may seem somewhat limited, it is a truly enjoyable form of indoor leisure. Enjoying the activity of drinking in your underpants does not require that you adopt an entirely new aesthetic, revamp your mindset, or read specialist books on the subject.
Instead, you can simply enjoy an affordable pleasure – drinking alcohol in your underpants without worrying about having to venture out into the snow later on. Even if enjoying a few drinks in your underpants might seem silly, or you’re reluctant to partake in the most literal sense, it is really a reaffirmation of the importance of self-care and comfort, and of doing something specifically for yourself.
Online games and apps
Another way Finnish people have adapted to indoor leisure activities over the cold winter months has been through online gaming platforms, apps, and sites. When the winter months begin, many gamers who previously would have played with friends at home or in game-rooms, have to play online, which together with increased use of the streaming services puts a high demands on the internet providers bandwidths. Also many who visited their local casinos, bookmaker’s shops, and race courses stay at home because of concerns about the weather or their own health. During these months, igamers who have never used an online casino or platform will suddenly not have a place to go to play cards or place bets.
Although playing from home may not provide players with exactly the same experience, this is as close to the real experience as you get during the dark winter nights.
Arts and crafts
The Finns have also adapted to long days and nights spent indoors by taking up a variety of the arts and working on handicrafts. Finnish art and crafts are known around the world for their simple elegance and beauty. The beauty of traditional Finnish aesthetics together with influences of European, Russian, and Asian artistic movements has created a unique artistic atmosphere and culture for the Finns.
Art is so central to Finnish identity that there is now even a village entirely populated by artists and their families, Fiskars village. Europeans from around the EU have started moving to Fiskars village in order to escape the rat race in major cities and instead enjoy the close proximity to the natural world and deep cultural appreciation for the arts that Fiskars village has.
These are just a handful of the many ways in which Finns have adapted over the centuries to spending long days and nights indoors.