The Finnish food culture is influenced by Western and Eastern traditions. Nearness of the sea and thousands of lakes and the high share of forested land area in the country, approximately 70 percent, offer Finnish cuisine pure natural raw ingredients such as fish, berries and mushrooms but international meals like pizza are among favourites of children and youth as well. The school system provides a free warm daily meal for children which is internationally unique. Karelian pasties that have their origin in eastern part of the country are sold in almost every bakery and store. The scouts and guides eat the traditional Finnish buns often at the bonfire, wrapping a thin piece of the dough in a spiral form around an approximately 2 cm thick wooden stick of ca one meter length and baking it on an open fire.
Sauna is a vital part of the Finnish culture. This hot room that is heated with woods in an oven covered with stones relaxes and relieves tension. The heath in sauna is normally between 70 to 100 degrees celsius and the humidity is high because of the habit of throwing water on the hot stones which makes the stay pleasant. Many scout camps include sauna in their programme. Many camp venues for scouts have a permanent sauna building, often by a lake or the sea, but sometimes a temporary one is built in a tent just for the time of the summer camp. It is a custom that boys and girls go to sauna separately and without swimming suits.
Previously sauna has had many functions from smoking meat and drying grain but today it is used for cleaning and relaxation at social gatherings with friends, colleagues and with the family. The most houses, summer cottages and even appartments have their own sauna and it is estimated that there are ca. 1,2 million saunas in Finland for the country’s 5,3 million inhabitants.
Here are examples of games that Finnish scouts and guides like to play. It is often difficult to know the exact origin of a game so you might know your own local version of the game already. Nevertheless, it is always fun to play together.
One of the players faces a wall while others line up about 10-20 meters behind him or her. They then try to approach the one at the wall by creeping, walking or even running but the person at the wall can turn around at any time and then all players must remain still. If he or she sees even the tiniest movement of any player, that person’s name is said aloud and must return back to the starting point and try again. The one touching the back of the person at the wall first wins the game and is the next one standing at the wall. This game is mainly played by younger clubscouts.
Slime and fairies
Half of the players are slime crawling on the floor and the others are fairies that tiptoe around the room waving their hands like ferries. When the slime people touch the fairies they become slime as well and must creep along the floor and touch the other fairies. The game ends when everyone has become slime and the floor is clean.
Photo: Anna Enbuske