Dating and marriage customs in finland

ᐅᐅ Dating and marriage customs in finland

dating and marriage customs in finland

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Membership of the European Union and the related practical and social demands have increased the need to study European languages, at least in the case of Finns who travel in Europe on business or are studying abroad. Educated Finnish speakers, particularly those working in the public sector, speak Swedish to some degree whilst almost all Swedish-speaking Finns speak Finnish too.

The status of Swedish as the joint official language of mainland Finland can be seen in the bilingual names of public institutions and in street signs, the latter case depending on the percentage of minority language speakers resident in a given municipality, and in the Swedish-language programmes on radio and TV.

Swedish-speaking Finns have a distinctive culture, and their social mores are influenced by Scandinavian traditions moreso than amongst the Finnish-speaking majority. Names and titles When introducing themselves, Finns will say their forename followed by their surname. Although Finns are conscious and proud of any official titles they may have, they rarely mention these when introducing themselves.

In contrast, they do expect to be addressed by their title in professional and official contexts: Doctor Virtanen, Managing Director Savolainen, etc. The familiar form of address in Finnish i. However, young people still tend to address middle-aged or elderly people by the formal second person plural if they do not know the persons well.

It is relatively easy to get onto first-name terms with a Finn, especially if it is evident that the parties will continue to meet regularly for business or pleasure. However, it is felt appropriate that the use of first names is specifically and mutually agreed upon. The use of first names is always proposed by the older or more senior person to the junior, or, in the case of equals, by the woman to the man; the agreement is enacted by shaking hands, making eye contact, with each party saying their first name aloud, and nodding the head.

Raising a toast with schnapps, wine or champagne lends a festive air to the occasion. Apart from this, Finns are not nearly as demanding in remembering names as many other people are.


It is not usual to address people by name when greeting them regardless of how familiar one is with them or in the course of a normal conversation. Businessmen and persons in public office are expected to distribute business cards as a means of ensuring their name and title are remembered.

There are no special rituals related to exchanging business cards in Finland. For a visitor, receiving a business card provides a convenient opportunity to ask how a name is pronounced or what a cryptic title might mean. Greeting When meeting, Finns shake hands and make eye contact. Handshakes are brief and firm, and involve no supporting gestures.

dating and marriage customs in finland

When greeting, the parties shake hands and make eye contact. A deep bow denotes special respect — in normal circumstances, a nod of the head is enough. A Finnish handshake is brief and firm, and involves no supporting gestures such as touching the shoulder or upper arm. When greeting a married couple, the wife should be greeted first, except on a formal occasion where the hosts should first be greeted by the spouse to whom the invitation was addressed. Children are greeted by shaking hands too.

Embracing people when greeting them is rare in Finland. A man greeting someone in the street should raise his hat; in the cold of winter, a touch of the hand to the brim of the hat is enough. Finns can kiss as well as the next nation, but they rarely do so when greeting. Friends and acquaintances may hug when meeting, and kisses on the cheek are not entirely unknown, although this habit is not generally found in rural areas. There is no special etiquette regarding the number of kisses on the cheek; however, most Finns feel that three kisses is going a bit far.

Men very rarely kiss each other in greeting, and never on the mouth in the manner of our eastern neighbours. Eating Finnish cuisine has western European, Scandinavian and Russian elements.

Table manners are European. Breakfast can be quite substantial. Lunch is usually eaten between The once common long business lunches have shrunk to 90 minutes or two hours. Evening meals at home are eaten around In most restaurants, dinners are served from Many restaurants stop serving food about 45 minutes before they actually close, so it is worthwhile checking the serving times when booking a table.

dating and marriage customs in finland

Concerts and theatre performances usually begin at Restaurant menus and home cooking rarely involve food that western visitors would not be acquainted with. Increased nutritional awareness has made the once heavy, fatty Finnish diet lighter, and the better restaurants can cater for a variety of dietary requirements. Ethnic restaurants, constantly increasing in number, have added to the expanding choice.

Beer and wine are drunk with restaurant food in the evening, but at lunchtime these days they feature very little, if at all. At a dinner party, the host determines the seating order if necessary. The guest of honour is seated to the right of the hostess or the host, if it is a men-only dinner.

This is a seat dreaded by most Finns, since the guest of honour is expected to say a few words of thanks to the hosts after the meal. It is not appropriate for guests to drink before this, unless the beginning of the meal is badly delayed.

Finns seldom make speeches during a meal, but they do so on formal occasions. In such cases, the speeches are made between courses. During the meal, the host may toast individual guests, or guests may toast each other, by raising their glasses and making eye contact. Once the toast is drunk, eye contact should be made again when lowering the glass to the table.

A meal normally concludes with coffee and postprandial drinks are served with it or immediately after. If the hosts allow smoking, this is the moment to bring out the cigars and cigarettes, unless of course the host has already allowed or suggested this earlier. When leaving the table, the guests should thank the hosts briefly for the fare when they get the chance, regardless of whether the guest of honour has done so or not.

Finns drink coffee anywhere and everywhere. More coffee per person is drunk in Finland than anywhere else in the world. Finns consume the equivalent of slightly over ten litres of pure alcohol per person per year, which is close to the European average.

Drinking habits mainly follow Scandinavian and European practices. There are fewer national characteristics than one might think, considering that Finns do have a reputation for drinking; and indeed binge drinking is fairly common, as it is throughout northern Europe and parts of the UK. However, consumption of wine and beer, as opposed to spirits, has increased in recent years, and as a result more decorous drinking behaviour has become more common.

Consumption of alcohol at lunchtime is less common in the business world than it used to be, and in the public sector it is extremely rare. Alcohol consumption varies somewhat, according to socio-economic differences and, to some extent, by region. The influence of central European or Mediterranean drinking habits is primarily visible among urban middle class young adults and slightly older Finns with tertiary education.

Culture of Finland - history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family

The import and sale of wines and other alcoholic beverages is largely controlled by the state-owned Alko organisation, and private individuals can only buy alcoholic beverages in Alko shops, with the exception of medium strength beer and cider, which can be bought in food stores. Alko is a major buyer of wines and stocks a wide and geographically representative selection of all qualities, including top labels.

Many restaurants import their own wines directly from suppliers abroad. In households wine is normally reserved for weekend meals, but meals prepared for guests or eaten in a restaurant usually involve wine. Often — and in the case of Swedish-speaking Finns, almost always — a meal is preceded by schnapps, a shot of vodka or aquavit in a tiny glass.

This is considered an integral part of cold fish courses, and absolutely essential with crayfish. Swedish-speaking Finns have a custom of enlivening the occasion with a line or two of a drinking song before each shot of schnapps.

Big dinner parties have an appointed toastmaster who determines the interval between shots and leads the singing. Finnish-speaking Finns have a less elaborate and less structured drinking etiquette, although there are schnapps songs in Finnish too.

The rural economy is still based on modest family-owned farms where the marketing of timber from privately owned forest tracts is an important means of financing agricultural operations.

Handicraft and artisan traditions were well developed historically, and some have survived the conversion to industrial manufacturing. Men specialized in making furniture, harnesses, wooden vessels or "bushels" vakkaand metalwork. The sheath knife puukko was a versatile tool, and it continues to symbolize maleness in recreational hunting and fishing.

Women specialized in textiles and lace making. The woven woolen wall rug ryijy has become a particularly popular art form in homes, emblematic of a family's patrimony. By the Middle Ages local markets and fairs were important in the economy, with fairs often held in the vicinity of churches and associated with saints' days or other aspects of the religious calendar. Land Tenure and Property. Historically, in the west it was customary for a farm to be passed on to the eldest son or the eldest daughter's husband.

In the east, the land was divided among all the adult male family members. These regional patterns have largely faded, and intergenerational transfers of land have become highly variable throughout the country. Despite a bias toward patrilineal transmission, farms can be inherited by sons or daughters or the oldest or youngest offspring or can be divided or jointly held by multiple heirs.

However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, a landless proletariat constituted half the rural population. Major agrarian reforms included the Crofters' Law ofthe Lex Kallio ofand the Land Procurement Law ofall of which created holdings for landless rural poor and unfavorably situated tenant farmers. With two-thirds of total output generated in the service sector, the economy is comparable to those in other advanced industrial nations.

Finland joined the European Union EU inprimarily to further political integration, but has experienced some economic benefits in the form of lower food prices. A recession-spurred unemployment rate exceeding 18 percent in the mids, has been the largest economic problem, stemming from the Soviet Union's collapse and the deterioration of bilateral Finnish-Soviet trade.

The markkaor Finnmark, is the basic monetary unit. In recent years, metal, engineering, and electronics products have accounted for half of the country's exports, with forest products accounting for another third.

The revolution in high-technology industries has been dramatic. These industries did not become prominent until the s but now produce a large and growing share of exports. The Nokia Corporation, known in the s primarily for paper and rubber products, has an expanding international market for mobile phones, computers, and related telecommunications products.

Furs and naval stores constituted a large share of the export trade in the Middle Ages, mainly destined for the cities of the Hanseatic League. German and Swedish merchants were prominent in Finland's early Baltic port cities.

After the mid-nineteenth century, foreign trade shifted toward Saint Petersburg and Russian markets with lumber, paper, and agricultural products becoming the chief exports. After World War II, forest products remained crucial to the export economy, but they are now complemented by sophisticated metal, electronics, engineering, and chemical products. In recent years, trade with countries in the European Economic Community has expanded and has been reinforced by Finland's membership in the European Free Trade Association.

Social Stratification Classes and Castes. Before the nineteenth century, Finnish society was divided into peasants Light blue vases at the Arabia Factory in Helsinki, which is known for its stoneware, china, and porcelain. Finnish design combines local artistic themes with tools and materials adapted to demanding northern conditions. Economic change led to the decline of the clergy and nobility and an expansion of the entrepreneurial and working classes. In more recent decades, considerable social mobility and an egalitarian ethos emerged with increasing economic prosperity, a progressive social welfare system, an open educational system, and consensus politics.

While Finns may not always recognize clear economic class divisions, they are likely to be conscious of the status attached to educational and honorific titles and political party affiliation. The currently unfolding class system includes farmers, the working class nonrural manual laborersthe petit bourgeoisie shop owners, small entrepreneursthe lower middle class lower-income service sectorthe upper middle class higher-income white-collar professionalsand the upper class corporate owners and managers.

Symbols of these loosely-drawn social strata, as in many Western democracies, can be rather subtle.

The administrative district or commune maalaiskunta embodies a sense of community and self-identification for its residents. It often coincides with the historical church parish, and is a local unit of self-government that generally collects taxes, regulates economic affairs, and maintains public order.

Every four years a communal council is elected to manage local affairs. Much of a council's work is implemented by a communal board composed of members appointed to reflect the council's political party composition. Leadership and Political Officials. With more than a dozen political parties, kunta government sometimes is represented by opposing coalitions of socialist and nonsocialist party interests.

The same principle applies at the national level, where the two hundred representatives of the uni-cameral parliament Eduskunta are often elected by alliances of parties.

Nonetheless, most parliamentary members follow the positions of their political parties and vote in blocs.

Dating and marriage customs in finland

The parliament promulgates laws, approves the national budget, monitors the legality of governmental activities, and, in concert with the president, exerts legislative power. Social Problems and Control.

The institution of a village-governing alderman was part of the authoritarian moral environment in the dense rural settlements of the southern and western regions. In the sparsely settled eastern interior, social life was more individualistic and social control less formal. In contemporary society, independent courts and centrally organized police forces maintain public order. Crime rates generally increased between the s and s paralleling the country's growing wealth and urbanization.

The economic recession of the early s was accompanied by a decline in crime, followed by modest increases in recent years. Compared with other Nordic countries, Finland has very low rates for theft and narcotics offenses but an above average rate for assault. Finland's historical position as a frontier of colonization and military incursions by external empires is part of the collective conscience. Strategic victories against invading Soviet forces during the "Winter War" of — are symbolically integral to the lore and identity of many Finns.

By contrast, the "reign of terror" after the civil war of — profoundly polarized the middle classes and working classes, with the working classes remaining alienated and embittered.

Old Marriage Customs in Finland

In foreign relations, Finland initially attempted to establish cooperative ties with other countries that had won their independence from Russia after World War I. However, it soon abandoned that position and began to seek the support of the League of Nations.

After the mids, Nordic cooperation became the predominant orientation in foreign policy. Social Welfare and Change Programs In recent years, expenditures on social insurance health, pension, accident, and disability programssocial transfers of income maternity allowances, children's allowances, child support payments, municipal housing allowancesand social welfare individuals in need have approached one-fifth of the gross national product.

The programs are financed by contributions from the state, municipal governments, employers, and insured individuals. As early ascompensation was instituted for workers injured in accidents. A dramatic increase in medical care needed for disabled war veterans beginning in the s spurred the state to expand public health programs. Finland has been a pioneer in maternity allowances and family welfare, offering one of the most generous systems of payments for mother and child care in the world.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations About 10 to 15 percent of the government's aid budget is allocated to nongovernmental organizations NGOs involved in development and humanitarian projects.

Inas many as one hundred fifty Finnish NGOs maintained four hundred projects in more than seventy countries, mostly in Africa and Asia.

In the rural economy, women are the primary cattle tenders and men are field and forestry workers. However, a decline in the availability of work crews of kin and friends and a concomitant increase in mechanization have contributed to convergence in male and female work roles.

A complicating factor is that young women have left the countryside in greater numbers than have men in recent years. Farms have aging personnel and few assisting family members, and some farmers are forced into bachelorhood.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. There is a long tradition of sexual equality in the sense that women's participation in political activity and public life has been encouraged. Finland was the first country to provide equal voting rights to women, instituting female suffrage in elections to the national parliament in Female membership in the parliament currently is about 33 percent.

Indeed, Finland's current president, Tarja Halonen, is a woman. The traditional role of rural women as resourceful, powerful workers translates well to urban contexts. The model of a man who works to support a wife who remains at home is not widely embraced. There is an old pattern of sending girls for advanced education while keeping boys in farm work after rudimentary schooling.

While women work alongside men in business, forestry, engineering and other fields, women's earnings are only 81 percent of men's, reflecting the greater numbers of women in low-paying service jobs. A lingering area of conservatism and sexual disparity involves men's unchanging attitudes toward their roles and the notion that women, despite their other obligations, are responsible for domestic work and child care. Marriage, Family, and Kinship Marriage.

dating and marriage customs in finland

Endogamous tendencies characterized marriage in rural society, with mates frequently chosen from the same village, parish, or rural commune.

This tendency was most pronounced in the eastern districts among large Karelian joint families and those of the same background and status. Night courting and bundling rituals achieved a high degree of elaboration among the youth in the southwest. Under church influence, those customs were replaced by unilocal weddings at the bride's home. In recent years, community and regional endogamy have declined.

Marriage rates also have declined as cohabitation has become more common in urban areas, yet that pattern preserves some of the aspects of the "trial marriage" of earlier times, when weddings were performed to finalize a marriage after a woman had conceived a child. Historically, joint families were common in the eastern Karelian area, where a founding couple, their adult male children, and the male children's wives formed multiple-family farm households that were among the largest twenty to fifty persons in Scandinavia.

Elsewhere, it has been common for only one child to remain on the parents' farmstead, and smaller "stem" and nuclear families have prevailed. Overall, family size has become smaller under the impact of urbanization, dropping from an average of 3. Among families with children, the number of offspring declined from an average of 2.

A common historical pattern was for a son to take over a farm and care for his parents in their old age. However, the custom of patrilineal transmission is changing, perhaps as differential migration to cities alters the sex ratios in rural areas. In many cases, relinquishing coheirs usually siblings who move away must be compensated for their shares in a farm by the remaining heir; often this is done with timber income from a farm's forest tracts.

dating and marriage customs in finland

Kinship is basically bilateral, creating overlapping personal kindreds sukulaiset derived from the father's and mother's relatives. Though the concepts and theory of the marriage have annd drastically by traditions, the actual ceremonies have remained more or less the same as they were originally in the ancient Zoroastrian culture. The rest of the dowry is expected later. A wedding is not unless both bride and groom are willing, and the groom is often encouraged to visit her before the wedding as advised in many of the prophet.

This prompted to collect Finnish and Karelian folk poetry and arrange and publish them as dating and marriage customs in finland, the Finnish.

Taking the photographs of the bride, the groom, and their relatives is considered to be the central part of the wedding day. After the custom, they usually annd a party with food and music. In the s Finnish rock bands started to sell well internationally.

dating and marriage customs in finland