* Finland Finish boys activities

Finnish Boys' Activities

Figure 1.--This Finnish father is playing tennis with his son during the 1950s. I'm not sure, but it does not look like a grass court.

We do not yet have much information on youth activies in Finland, primarily because our Finnish archive is fairly limited. he activities seem largely similar to those in the rest of Europe. The most important activity is of course school. We do have some information on Finnish schools. We have found some information on Finnish choirs. As in other countries, Finnish boys enjoy a range of sports. As in other countries, the most ppoular sport is football (soccer). Of course because of the climate, many Finns enjoy cold weather sports like skating and skiing. We do not yet have any information on youth groups. The only group we know of are the Scouts.


We have found some information on Finnish choirs. Many countries of Western and Central Europe have a long tradition of church boys' choirs dating back to the medevil era. I note little about the Finnish tradition. The medeivel church's tradition of choir music appears to have diappeared with the Reformation. Some choirs of recent foundation are attempting to revive the tradition. The existing choirs are of very recent origins.

Family Outings

Boys are involved in all kinds of family outings. People in the city might go on a short trip to a city park. Longer outings might be out into te country to have a picnic or park. There are also resorts in Finland that offer family accomodations. Finlan is best known for spa hotels. They offer guests the ability to seek rejuvenation and relaxation in locations that ovffer sightseeing opportiunities. Spa resorts vary in price levels. Facilities include rooms, restaurants, spas, swimming pools, and of course the famous Finnish saunas. There are beach resorts in the southern and western regions of the country. During the summer, families might enjoy a beach outing. Finland of course is not known for its beaches. But there are several popular beach resorts. Until after World War II and the advent of inexpensive air travel, few Finns could enjoy Mediterranean or other beach vacations. Thus the Finnish Baltic Sea beaches had to do.


Children love parties and parties are activities enjoyed by all children around the world. We do not know much about parties in Finland. We do know that birthday parties are very common. Birthday parties seem similar in Finland to those in other countries. We do not know yet just how they were celebrated. Thery were often largely gender specific for the younger children, becoming more mixed for the teen years. Before World War II they were often formal affairs, but have gradually become more common over time. We do not have information on other kinds of children's parties.


We do not know much about the games Finnish children play. We suspect that they are similar to those played by children in Scandinavia, but we have no information at this time. Here our phitiographic archive is very limited. And Finland has onlya small population and untill well after World War II, Finland was not a wealthy country, manung the photographic record itself is very limited. In their cold climate, Finnish children like adults like to take advantage of sunshine during the summer. And in the winter there are a lot of fun things to do in the snow and ice such as sakting and skilling. Given Finland's climate, Finnish children spend a lot more time with these activies than most the rest of European children. We have some information on traditional games. Apparently the Finns have a version of baseball in which the ball id thrown up and not at the batter. Some games are noth played for fun and in tournamrnts. Kyykka, or Finnish Skittles, is one of those. In this two player game, there are twelve pins called skittles, and each player has a small wooden bat. The objective is to toss the bat and knock the other player's pins out of the play area. The winner is the player who can do it in the least number of throws. Mölkky is another popular skittles game. Each pin has a number, and if a player knocks down only one pin, that number becomes their score. If two or more pins fall, the score is the number of pins knocked down. Other traditional Finnish games are not part of any tournament play but are more for entertainment. Chain is one of those games. In Chain, or Ketsju, one person must leave the room while the others join hands in a circle. They then weave themselves around each other until they are tangled into a knot. We are not sure how these traditional games ans survived the test of time in modern Finland. There are also biard games, some of which seen are primarily Funnish. We are not sure to what extent they may also be played in neigb=hboeing Sweden. And of course children alsi have fun with begicles like bikes and trikes, although before World War II many children could not affird them. We have no information on toys yet. Hopefully Finnish readers will provide some information on the games that they played as children.


We are not sure just where to archive saunas, an important Finnish tradituon. The activities section seems the most reasonable. The sauna in has an important status in Finish culture. It is not unique to Finland, but is probably more important in Finlsnd than any other countru. The sauna itself is a small room or hut that can be heated to around 80� Celsius. The sauna has both practical and cultural purposes. It is a part of bathing, but also is valuable for mental and physical relaxation. A hot sauna can seem a real challenge to the uninitiated fireigner, Finns see it as a pleasant experience. The requirements are simple, a towel and about a half hour of time. A sauna is preceeeded with a shower. Then one entera the sauna for a short period, depending on one's tolerance to the heat. This is repeated as offten as the individual desires. The sauna is practiced in other socities under different namees: banya (Russian), hamam (Turkey), inipi / sweat lodge (Native American), onsen (Japan), and others. The origins of the sauna in Finland are not entirely known. We do know that the history dates back over a thousand years. And the sauna has only gotten more popular in modern Finland. One estimate suggests that there are over 1.2 million saunas in Finnish homes, including apartments (2002). And there are an additional 0.8 million sauna in summer cottages and public swimming pools (mostly indoor pools). This means that there are 2 million saunas for Filands 5.2 million population. An especially important Finnish tradition is a Christmas sauna.


The most important activity is of course school. We do have some information on Finnish schools. We are unsure about Finnish school uniforms at this time. We have virtually no information except for a few imasges. There may have been significant differences before and after independence. Finland until 1918 was a part of Tsarist Russia. We have noted Russian students, at least at the secondary level, wearing uniforms. This may have also been the case in Finland, but Finland had the status of a grand duchy and was somewhat autonomous in Tsarist Russia. The Tsarist regime under Alexander II began a process of Russiufication. We are unsure to what extent Finland was affected. We note primary children who are not wearing uniforms. After independence we are not sure what steps were taken, if any, concerning school uniform. Modern Finnish students do not wrear uniforms.

Sports and Athletics

Finnish children, as in other countries, enjoy a range of sports. A wide range of sports and athletics are plasyed in Finland. The sports program as is common in Europe is not as school-based as the United states. Often children joined clubs to participate in sports, rather like the way American children participate in swimming competitions. Here we see a range of Finnish sports activities like athletics. As in other countries, the most ppoular sport is football (soccer). Climate plays an important role in Finnish sports. The most destinctive feature of Finnish sports results from the climaste. Finland is one of a handful of countries located at extreme northerly lattitudes. Thus because of the climate, Finns are abkle to enjoy enjoy cold weather sports like skating and skiing. Ad ice hockey is very popular with the boys.

Summer Camp

Summer camp has become a popular activity for Finnish children. This is largely a post-World war II development. Before the War, Finland was a largely agricultural rural country. After the War, Finland rapidly industrialized and there was a substantial increase in the urban population. As the core of the summer camp movement was to get city children out into the countryside there they could experrience nature and get fresh air and sunshine. We note both day camps and sleep-away camps. Many local communities set up say camps. Sleep away camps are operated by a variety of non-govermental groups. There are relatively few private camps. Most of the camps are operated by the Scouts, sport teams, and churches, especially the orthodox and evangelic-Lutheran churches. There are camps that accept most school-age children. Finnish educators saw urbnization as having many adverse affects on children. This was similar to attitudes at the turn-of-the 20th century tha gave rise to the summer camp movement in America. An important pat of the Finnish summer camp movement is confirmation camps. As in Germany, confirmation is an important strp for Evangelical (Lutheran) children and generally occurs at about 13 years of age. Thus many churches organize confirmation camps for the children being confirmed, ages 13-16 years. Many see it as an effort to counter the increasing secularization of European society. One estimate suggests that about 90 percent of Swedish youth attend conformatioin camps. The practice has also been adopted by Orthodoix churches as well. Along with standard summer camp fare, there is a religious program and the youth learn about their faith and memorize important passages such as the catechism, and the Lord's prayer. The concept has proven so successful that comparable camps have neen organized with out the religious element. A good example is the Prometheus Camp. The more focused camps like computer camps popular in America are not yet common in Finland.

Youth Groups

We do not yet have any information on Finnish youth groups. The only group we know of are the Boy Scouts and we have very little information even on the Scouts.


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Created: 7:53 PM 1/6/2009
Last updated: 1:31 AM 1/14/2011