05 February 2010

time for a new post!

We're in February already, and I'm still wishing Merry Christmas - time to change that!

There were Finnish flags everywhere today as it's a flagging day here in Finland. It is "Runeberg's Day" a national holiday (not really a bank holiday though) in honour of Swedish-speaking national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. He lived in the 19th century. So in honour of his work, today we eat these cakes (or "Runeberg tarts" as they are called):

Not quite like haggis in Scotland :-) Which you eat on Burns Day, 25th of January every year in honour of the Scottish national poet Robert Burns. Quite close these two days celebrating national poets in my two home countries, and it is funny how food is associated in both celebrations. I find it an interesting cultural thing, this thing with food - that we celebrate by eating certain foods foods in certain days. Does every culture in the world have that I wonder? National food, food that receives an iconic status. Interesting! That we also define a country/ a culture/ ourselves through food..

For Finland February is a big food month. First these Runeberg cakes, then we eat pea soup on a certain tuesday (called "sledging tuesday" - yes tradition is you also go sledging) and also have some Finnish sweet rolls called laskiaispulla ("sledging bun" to translate literally..). In February we also have "skiing week" - a winter holiday week - it's a school holiday, kids are off for a week. And you are obviously meant to go skiing! =) Sooo lots of traditions we have invented for February! Kind of in the midst of every day life. Celebrating winter. Usually it is also the best winter weather in February. Good amount of snow, and not too cold. Perfect for, e.g. skiing ;) but yes, lots of "traditions".. of course, not all of us participate in (all of) these :)

I didn't see any translations for Runeberg's poems, so instead I'll post one of Burns' poems, recited by Scottish Actress Dawn Steele. Don't worry if you don't understand a word. That is how I felt when I landed in Scotland for the first time! :)

Here's the written version of the poem (plus English translation ;D)!