……. It was a Finnish assignment from my Suomi 2 course, we were to design an invitation card in Finnish inviting our friends to a party, including dates, food, color code and all.
I decided to design a card that represents the month of February, it’s the month of love, right?
February is always special amongst months of the year for several reasons, notable of course is VALENTINE’S DAY 😉.
All over the world there’s a lot of excitement in the air, the day is dedicated to romantic couples as a day to share intimate moments, ignite the flames of scented love feelings through romantic dates and heartwarming gifts.
I made a search about “Valentine’s Day celebration in Finland”, hoping to see a lot of romantic options but alas! I found a very interesting result: Valentine’s Day in Finland is called Ystävänpäivä! which literally means Friend’s Day.
In Finland the day is dedicated to friends and not just lovers and couples! The country (I found out it’s the same in neighboring Estonia) values friendship enough to make a whole day to celebrate it in the purest of forms.
According to sources, it all started in the ’80s (1987 is cited as the starting year), this special day was mainly a school celebration where students were encouraged to give hand-made gifts to their friends to celebrate their friendship. (YLE uutiset 2008)
While Ystävänpäivä was officially included in Finnish calendars in the end of 1980’s, the tradition has become deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of Finnish society and today is widely celebrated throughout the country. Valentine’s Day is the second most popular card giving holiday in Finland.(Yle uutiset 2008)
All over the country there are decorations of love in restaurants and public spaces, and people buy and package lots of gift items for their loved ones, of course this includes couples however romance doesn’t take the center stage like in many countries, here FRIENDSHIP leads.
So, if you ever feel unaccommodated in the general mode of Valentine’s Day celebration and would rather be with friends and have a good time without feeling awkward, then Finland is the place for you!
I eventually designed my Invitation card and invited all my classmates to a “hypothetical “Friend’s Day celebration with the dress code being red (of course we can wear any color since it’s not exactly valentine 😊) there will be lots of cakes and wine, and we will merry as jolly good friends!
-Oladeji, Nursing student-