Wednesday, 24 June 2015

MIDSUMMER SAUNA


The sauna is among the most Finnish things there are. The word sauna itself is a Finnish word. You have the midsummer sauna, Christmas sauna, bridal sauna, the Saturday evenig sauna and the regular everyday sauna as well... Most Finnish summer cottages and cabins will have a separate sauna, and many old apartment buildings has a mutual one, while new apartments tend to have their own small saunas next to the bathroom. I've never been that much of a sauna goer at home really, the sauna at my parents' house was mainly used for drying clothes in . We have a weekly sauna hour in our building that we sometimes manage to make it to. I mostly just go to the sauna when at the gym.

But being in a wooden sauna on an island or by the lake, being able to jump right into the water straight from the heat, is a different thing. This midsummer when out in the archipelago we heated the sauna, which I haven't actually bathed in for a few years, in spite of sleeping in the sauna chamber every time we are over at the island.


The sauna window view.

When we were small gathering pine cones was one of our "duties". It works as a spark together with the wood when you heat the sauna (or any other fire; we mainly collected these for heating the house.)

I like a more mild sauna that is max 80C hot, preferably just a bit over 70. But  it is often heated above that, up to 100 degrees celsius.

(There used to be sauna championships where the contestants tried to out-sit each other in the heat, with very high temperatures. Some years ago one finalist died, while the other got really sick and was in a coma for a long time. That's insane.)

The sauna is something pretty much every one here has grown up with.  Babies under 6 monhts are not recommended to bathe in the sauna though. Kids usually sit on the floor, as the heat is lower there. Women actually used to give birth in the sauna back in the days (it was the cleanest space).

My first plunge for the year! The water was only +12C. That's cold, but it has been colder than usual so far this year.(The sea usually gets around 18-19 in summer, but it can be over 20C as well. It depends not only on the weather but on location as well. Some days during good summers the sea has hit temperatures around 27-28C. Lakes tend to be warmer. In Southern Carelia at my grandmothers cabin the water is often  around +25C.)

Where the harbour opposite of us is, there used to be an island, just in front of the mainland. They blew it away.

Midsummer flowers in newly washed hair.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do people in Finland go in the sauna (even at your building) au naturel? I remember going to the saunas in Austria and noticing that the only people who kept their bathing suit were French! of course all the eyes were on them...

The Freelancer's FashionBlog said...

Anonymous: Yes, in general! The sauna in the buildings have separate shifts per household (for example we have tuesdays at 7:30). Public saunas have separate saunas and washrooms for men and women.

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Ronni Casillas said...

Saunas are definitely Finnish in nature. Their very structure is built around necessity, with Finland being susceptible to more punishing winters. So they need to be heavily insulated for that reason. Thanks for sharing how saunas have been very much a part of your life, as well as Finnish lives in general. Cheers!

Ronni Casillas @ JNH Lifestyles