Unique Finnish Customs

  1. Eukonkanto (Wife-carrying)

This is one of Finland’s most fascinating annual sports events. It involves a man having to carry his wife through a specially laid down competition track that is filled with certain set obstacles. This sport has been around since the 19th century, and in honor of this tradition, there is a World Championship of Wife Carrying that is held in Sonkajärvi every year. The winner of the competition is determined by which team manages to complete the race in the least amount of time.

  1. Grillijono (Grill Queue)

Grilli is a fast food joint that is located at different corners of any town, city, or village in Finland. There is one important rule to be kept in mind and strictly followed if you have any plans of visiting a Grilli to get your lihapiirakka or makkaraperunat and the rule is never to skip the queue. Although most people at a grillijono are peaceful, not everyone is that way, especially some people who are intoxicated and will be willing to pick a fight.

  1. Vihta/Vasta


This is a tradition that is usually practiced during the summers as it is then that fresh birch twigs and leaves are available in most places. Once you make your way in to Finnish sauna and have been handed a vihta, you are supposed to start using this object to hit yourself as gently as possible, enough to leave your skin red and slightly sore. This is done to improve blood circulation.

  1. Saunajäähy

The traditional Jäähy is primarily divided into three categories: beginning with the act of jumping into a nearby water body, followed by the naked running in to pile of snow and finally, the relaxed conversation with beer to go with it!

  1. Tinanvalanta

Tinanvalanta involves melting a piece of tin shaped like a horseshoe over a stove or a fireplace and then submerging the melted metal into a bucket of cold water. This tradition is practiced with the belief that the resulting formation or shadow will predict the future of the individual performing the act.

  1. Ilmakitara ( Air Guitar )

The annual Air Guitar World Championships take place in the Northern regions of Finland, to be more specific, in the city of Oulu. The championship is a significant part of the Oulu Music Video Festival that exists. Although the first set up of the championship was initiated jokingly, owing to its growing popularity, it was later shaped into something a lot more permanent, and that came to be known as the Air Guitar World Championship and is now present in 20 nations. The AGW championships require the participants to perform, dance and lip-sync to songs with an imaginary guitar, basically pretending to play the guitar.


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