Cultural Aspects of Finland

The culture of Finland can be seen as a combination of Nordic, European and Russian traditions as well as a number of indigenous traditions unique to Finland. Finland's cultural influences are predominately dependent on its geographic location and the power struggles that plagued the nordic nations throughout its history.

Presently, the people of Finland are comprised of a finnish-speaking population and a swedish-speaking population. Both can be distinguished by certain genetic traits that are unique to each population. The language differences within each population has significantly decreased since the urbanization that followed World War II (WWII). Thus, many of the dialects that differentiated subgroups in Finland have died out in recent years.

The cultural philosophy of Finland incorporates an egalitarian structure that has persisted since ancient times. Finnish people believe highly in the idea of a welfare state, which prohibits social stratification and large disparities in wealth. The Finns also believe that all publicly and privately own land should be accessible to every citizen of Finland for a number of leisurely activities.

Finland has always been a deeply-rooted agricultural nation. The Finns show high regard towards nature and promote a lifestyle of harmony with their surroundings. Additionally, the people of Finland do not like to identify with any specific ethnicity or clan. Rather, the Finns have a strong sense of national pride and continually work for the common good of the country as a whole.

The main religion of the Finnish people has varied across the ages, but, in more recent times, most of Finland identify with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. A very small percentage of the Finnish population are associated with the Finnish Orthodox Church as well. Although most Finns identify themselves with the christian religion, most of them hold primarily secular views.

Education is also another very important aspect in Finland's culture. In recent years, Finland passed legislature that made education a civil right for all the Finnish people. Even college is provided free to any Finn, as long as they have the appropriate test scores to be accepted into a tertiary school system.

The structure of the family drastically changed after the end of the Second World War. With a completely novice conception of gender roles, now it is expected that both men and women provide for their families. Because of Finland's ingenious welfare system, all Finnish families are given paid parental leave with benefits based on their incomes.

Some of the most famous Finnish traditions stem from the millennium-long presence of the Christian religion as well as the age-old pagan traditions. The Finnish midsummer, referred to as Juhannus, is one of the many ancient pagan traditions that still thrive to this day. During Juhannus, most Finns travel to their summer cottages to celebrate the coming of the summer solstice.

The most famous Christian tradition of all, Christmas, is also prevalent in Finnish culture. In Finland, Christmas is referred to as Joulu. The Finns celebrate Joulu a little differently than the rest of the world. The festivities begin on December 23rd and gifts are given out on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day is usually reserved for traditional meals and a relaxing time in the famous Finnish saunas.

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