Local traditions and culture in Helsinki

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Most Viewed Local Customs in Helsinki

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    Hullat Paivat

    by gordonilla Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    It seems that this is becoming a regular happening in Helsinki and there are yellow bags everywhere!

    The Stockmann "Crazy Days"sale is always busy for them - although it is slightly worrying if you arriving in town during this period. You begin to wonder if there is some strange Helsinki City Byelaw which says everyone has to carry a Hullat Paivat yellow carrier bag. Fortunately this is not the case.

    It is better to be safe than sorry - so rush quickly into Stockmann, buy something so you can get a bag and then see that you do not stand out from everyone else.

    Hullut Paivat - Galna Dagar - Crazy Days

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    Digital Television

    by gordonilla Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This may not be of use to many travellers who visit for a brief period - however, the Finnish government has switched off all analogue television signal transmission from September 2007. Which of course means that to receive television transmission, you require a digital signal receiver.

    This was not a problem for many people, however I am told that there are some locations in the north of Finland without television at all.

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    The Stockmann Christmas Display

    by gordonilla Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    I can only apologise for the poor photography. The windows seem to show a reflection as I took the pictures. The helsinki department store always has a Christmas window, and there is also a raised platform to walk along and get a better view.

    It is a long standing tradition and always draws a big crowd.

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    Celebrating Midsummer night on Seurasaari

    by sinoda Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    As you may know Finland and other countries of the very northern parts of the world celebrate the nightless night called JUHANNUS in June (the date varies every year)

    Tourists in Finland at that time without bonds to finnish people may nevertheless enjoy this happening with others at Seurasaari. A small (culturally important) island in Helsinki. For more info see www

    close nature on Seurasaari

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    Some words about alcohol

    by sinoda Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    As you may already know Finns do enjoy the status of being a real drinking nation.

    That is to some extent true.

    In Finland legal drinking age and the age limit to buy alcohol in shops is 18 years. This is on one hand because of protecting the youth and on the other hand it should have an educative effect on Finns. (Relict of the prohibition law in the 1920s) And because of collecting taxes of course.

    That's why the finnish government has the monopole on selling alcohol. You may although buy beer and cidre in any food market, but vol.% will be less then 4,7.

    So there is the institution called ALKO, which is the only one selling all the alcohol in its 307 shops all over Finnland.

    Now, you may understand why prices are pretty high compared to for instance Germany or Italy.

    Get used it - we have. But there will be a time we will be laughing at this...

    alko shop
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Luxury Travel

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    The girls and boys of Finland

    by TomTomi Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    What does a typical young finn look like? Check the link for a comprehensive collection of Finnish exhibitionists. Some pictures are rather raunchy...Others are... well, check for yourself. And yes, you must rate the photo so you can see the next photo! (Now, whose idea was this?!)

    Crash course in Finnish:
    "näytä" = show
    "miehet" = men
    "naiset" = women
    "vuotta" = age

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    cyclin/pedestrian lanes

    by call_me_rhia Updated Aug 21, 2010

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    Helsinki is a very bike-friendly city... there's plenty of cycling lanes all over. Most of them dub into pedestrian lanes as well, and everyone should stay in the lane they belong to.

    However some pedestrian lanes are on cobbled streets, which means it's not very easy to talk on them with a stroller with small wheels... it's normally better to walk on cycling lanes... but cyclists are not too happy about it.

    Sidenote: about every Finnish stroller is incredibly roomy andhas absolutely huge wheels...

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    2 x 1 if you have a baby in a stroller

    by call_me_rhia Written Aug 21, 2010

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    if you are in Helsinki with a stroller, and there's two of you, then only one person needs to buy a ticket to use the city public transportation - he second travels for free. This means buses, trams and the ferry to Suomenlinna. You pay for the water taxi, though.

    Pay attention on buses, though - only two strollers are allowed at a time, for safety reasons... so if here's two already, you're left to wait for the next one.

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    St Thomas Christmas Market

    by gordonilla Updated Dec 16, 2009

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    The market seems to have got better in recent times I am told; however I have also been told it is now very commercial with many more mass produced items for sale rather than the traditional hand made selection in previous years.

    It was a pleasant place to visit, especially as it was quite cold and snowy. It seems that St Thomas brings Christmas to Finland on the 21 December each year, with St Knut taking it away on 13 January the follwoing year.

    The Entrance A bustling scene One of the many features He was there! Some details

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    Rally schools

    by csordila Updated Jun 26, 2009

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    Finland is well known of its world best rally heroes and of the racy gravel roads. The reason of this is, there are schools not only for people that want to improve their knowledge in handling cars, but for professional drivers and for drivers who want to be professionals as well.

    Finnish drivers have won the World Rally Driving Championship 12 times since the title was instituted in 1979.
    Several top Formula 1 drivers have also come from Finland, most notably Mika Häkkinen who was World Champion in 1998 and 1999 driving a McLaren Mercedes.
    Others include Keke Rosberg (1982 World Champion), J. J. Lehto (second at the 2003 Sebring 12 hour race in an Audi R8), Mika Salo, recent F1 phenom Kimi Raikkonen (2007 World Champion) and Heikki Kovalainen (2008 Hungarian Grand Prix).
    Finnish racing fans often fill a couple dozen charter flights to the F1 races.

    Finnish racing fans Raikkonen & Kovalainen 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix Mika H��kkinen Raikkonen 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix
    Related to:
    • Motorcycle
    • Road Trip

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    Midsummer in Helsinki

    by csordila Updated Jun 25, 2009

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    Midsummer/Juhannus is a really important celebration for the Finns, this is roughly as big a holiday as Christmas is. Helsinki is going to be totally empty, people are at their country cottages and shops, restaurants are closed. So you should provide in time from your food and drink, if you do not want to spend much money.

    A traditional midsummer event is held at the open-air museum of Seurasaari surrounded by rural buildings, cottages and people taking part in this celebration are singing, dancing or playing games together. The highlight of the event is the lighting of a huge bonfire.

    You should postpone your visit, if you are not interested in taking part in this celebrations.
    However the time of the city is right in high summer, when daylight lasts for 20 hours out of 24, when the sidewalk cafes and the waterside markets are full of handsome people and when the pale blue waters of the lakes and the white bark of the birch trees match the national flag.

    An ancient belief says, young girls will meet their future husband jn the ongoing year, if they go and roll naked in a dewy corn field during Midsummer night. It may be true, because anything may occur on this magic night, as it has been written in the Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare!

    Juhannus Celebrations on Seurasaari
    Related to:
    • Festivals
    • Family Travel

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    Finns and the alcohol

    by csordila Updated Jun 24, 2009

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    Generally known, the northern folk do not despise the alcohol.
    The Finns are also not exception of this rule. Alcohol shopping in Finland is not a simple thing. Its vending is state monopoly: only Alko shops may sell wines and hard liquors.
    In the evening after six, when Alko shops close, it may be quite impossible to get your vodka, leaving the restaurants and pubs out of consideration of course. They however observe strictly the law: "We do not serve alcoholic drink to persons of age less than 18 years".

    The alcohol is for this reason everywhere very expensive, it is not possible to run away through a pint of beer under 3-5 Euros in an average pub. So provide in time from your evening drink, if you do not want to spend to much

    Finlandia
    Related to:
    • Wine Tasting
    • Beer Tasting

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    Ice skating

    by yumyum Written Apr 25, 2008

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    In wintertime there is a big ice field on the square by the railway station. I don't know how much it costs but you seem to be able to rent skates there too. I first saw it after arrival after dark. During the day there are lots of small kids enjoying themselves.

    in the evening during the day

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    The Senate Square as a Venue: Via Crucis

    by gordonilla Written Mar 24, 2008

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    Even after so many years of visiting Helsinki - I have continued to find different things to attend and experience. Over easter, I attended a performance of Via Crucis (Ristin tie - The Way of the Cross) which is an ecumenical play and has been performed 13 times before this easter time (2008).

    As ever the Cathedral Steps were a focal point - and with the snow falling and the strange lighting effects the scene was wonderfully set for the play.

    Via Crucis (1): 22 March 2008 Via Crucis (2): 22 March 2008 Via Crucis (3): 22 March 2008

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    Barfest

    by Gili_S Written Dec 25, 2007

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    One traditional occasion we have here in Helsinki every year is a Barfest, which means, participating pubs also offering us a free ride from pub to pub, so you can drink as much as you like and just jump to those buses for the next pub.

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