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Quiz about Finnish Culture Beyond Sauna
Quiz about Finnish Culture Beyond Sauna

Finnish Culture: Beyond Sauna Trivia Quiz

When I was younger, I lived in Finland for almost six years, and will always treasure that experience. Can you match some specific items of that country's society and culture with the Finnish words for them?

A matching quiz by LadyNym. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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4 mins
Match Quiz
Quiz #
Dec 03 21
# Qns
Avg Score
8 / 10
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 134 (0/10), Buddy1 (10/10), Guest 88 (10/10).
Mobile instructions: Press on an answer on the right. Then, press on the gray box it matches on the left.
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right side answer box and then on a left side box to move it.
1. Strength of will, determination in the face of adversity  
2. Finnish name for Santa Claus - literal meaning "Yule goat"  
3. Finnish national poem  
4. National personification of Finland  
5. Midsummer - celebration of the summer solstice  
6. Ice hockey - Finland's national sport  
7. Communal work organized to accomplish a task  
8. Summer cottage, normally located near water  
9. Salty liquorice candy  
10. May Day - from the German "Walpurgisnacht"  

Most Recent Scores
Sep 22 2023 : Guest 134: 0/10
Sep 02 2023 : Buddy1: 10/10
Aug 17 2023 : Guest 88: 10/10

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Strength of will, determination in the face of adversity

Answer: sisu

The concept of "sisu" is said to be untranslatable, since it relates so closely to the Finnish national character as not to have a literal equivalent in English or other languages. The idea of raw, gritty courage that surfaces in difficult situations reflects the character of a country that has managed to become one of the world's most technologically and educationally advanced nations in spite of a less than ideal climate and geographical location. One of the most celebrated instances of Finnish "sisu" is the resilience showed during the Winter War of 1939-1940, when Finland was invaded by the Soviet Union. "Sisu" is also a popular brand name for everything from strong-tasting pastilles to trucks and an icebreaker ship.
2. Finnish name for Santa Claus - literal meaning "Yule goat"

Answer: Joulupukki

Like Christmas itself, Joulupukki is a pagan tradition that eventually became conflated with Santa Claus. During the Yule festival, which coincided with the winter solstice, men dressed up as goats (called "nuuttipukki") went from door to door asking for gifts and leftover food.

The Yule goat is present throughout Northern Europe, as can be seen from the wicker goat figures of every size that can be found in Sweden and other countries. Though originally these figures were not exactly benevolent (like the Central European Krampus, also a goat-like character), with the diffusion of the American-style Santa Claus Joulupukki has come to be identified with the jolly, red-robed old man who brings presents on Christmas Eve and drives a sleigh pulled by reindeer (a quintessential Finnish animal). Joulupukki was said to have his home in Lapland, on the fell known as Korvatunturi, but now he can be found in Santa Claus Village, an amusement park near Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland.
3. Finnish national poem

Answer: Kalevala

The "Kalevala" has a very interesting history, as it - unlike other national poems - was compiled in the 19th century from a number of different Finnish and Karelian oral sources. The author of this monumental feat was Elias Lönnrot (1802-1884), a physician, linguist and poet who spent 15 years collecting folk poetry, which he used as a basis for his poem.

The "Kalevala" details the myths of the ancient Finnish populations, which revolve around the figure of the powerful shaman Väinämöinen, the "eternal singer", and other deities and heroes. This massive work of poetry was published in two versions - the "Old Kalevala" in 1835, and the "New Kalevala" in 1849; the latter consists of 50 parts ("runot") and 22,795 verses. Kalevala Day is celebrated in Finland on February 28, the date in which the older version of the poem was published in 1835. Finnish composer Jean Sibelius wrote a number of works inspired by the "Kalevala", which was also a major source of inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien.
4. National personification of Finland

Answer: Suomi-neito

Many countries have national personifications, of which the most famous are the French Marianne and the American Uncle Sam. Interestingly, the figure of the Finnish Maiden (Suomi-neito) also coincides with Finland's shape on a map, which looks (admittedly somewhat vaguely) like a woman with a skirt, a head and one hand raised; the second arm was lost to the Soviet Union in 1944. Depictions of the Finnish Maiden as a young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes, wearing a dress in the national colours of blue and white, can be seen in paintings dating from the 19th century and later - when the country started forming a national identity and began the long, often troubled process that would lead to its independence from Russia in 1917.
5. Midsummer - celebration of the summer solstice

Answer: Juhannus

Not surprisingly, the summer solstice is quite a big event in Northern Europe, a region that experiences long, dark winters with plenty of snow. Originally, the summer solstice was dedicated to Ukko, the god of thunder, but after Christianization the holiday became known as "Juhannus", from the name of St John the Baptist ("Johannes Kastaja" in Finnish).

This holiday is celebrated between June 20 and June 26; most of the celebrations, which involve the lighting of a bonfire called "kokko" on the shores of the sea or of one of the country's myriad lakes, take place on the night between Friday and Saturday - meaning Finns get to enjoy a long weekend.

The night of the summer solstice is the longest night of the year, and so close to the Arctic Circle it never gets dark; Finland's northern regions experience the phenomenon of the midnight sun.

Whenever possible, Finns will spend Juhannus in the country with family and friends, enjoying all kinds of outdoor activities.
6. Ice hockey - Finland's national sport

Answer: jääkiekko

While football (soccer) is the most popular sport in most European countries, Finns as a whole prefer ice hockey - and no wonder, as their national men's team is one of the best in the world. The Lions (Leijonat, named after Finland's heraldic animal) are part of ice hockey's Big Six, the world's strongest men's ice hockey teams, together with Canada, the US, Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

They won the world championship in 1995 and 2011, as well as a number of Olympic medals and other tournaments.

The name "jääkiekko" literally means "ice disc" - "kiekko" being the Finnish word for "hockey puck". Auto racing is also a very popular sport in Finland, as is football (soccer), though the country's national team has never achieved notable results in the major international tournaments.
7. Communal work organized to accomplish a task

Answer: talkoot

"Talkoot" (plural form of "talkoo", which is almost never used in the singular) is another of those culture-specific words that have no literal translation in English. Though it started out in small, rural communities, in modern Finland the tradition of "talkoot" has extended to urban communities such as neighborhoods, condominiums and schools.

The work performed during a "talkoot" is voluntary (though there is always some amount of societal pressure that will not make it easy for members of a community to get out of it) and unpaid; it can involve tasks such as cleaning up a street or outdoor area, or repairing a building. Food and drink are provided for the participants, as well as services such as babysitting.
8. Summer cottage, normally located near water

Answer: kesämökki

"Summer cottage" is actually the literal translation of "kesämökki". "Kesä" means "summer", and if you have ever experienced a Finnish winter you can imagine how eagerly awaited this season can be in Finland. Summer cottages, which are common in Northern Europe, are generally not elaborate affairs: many of them have no running water and very little electricity (often provided by solar panels), but all of them have a sauna.

When days get longer and the weather gets warmer, Finns will try to spend their weekends there, recharging their batteries after a week of work. Though the basic nature of many of these cottages requires some planning (such as bringing water for cooking and drinking, food and other necessary items), Finns are glad of the opportunity to spend some time away from civilization.

A "kesämökki" is also the preferred place to spend Juhannus (see Question 5).
9. Salty liquorice candy

Answer: salmiakki

Talk about an acquired taste! Salmiakki is liquorice flavoured with salmiak salt (ammonium chloride), an ingredient that gives it an astringent taste, akin to the tannins found in red wine. This rather distinctive confectionery, found in all Nordic countries, comes in various forms, generally coloured black or dark brown; some varieties have an extra coating of salt for those who like a taste challenge. Salmiakki is also used as a flavouring for vodka and other alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, ice cream, soft drinks, and even tobacco.

A very popular brand of salmiakki candy is "Tyrkisk peber" (Turkish pepper), produced by the Finnish company Fazer.
10. May Day - from the German "Walpurgisnacht"

Answer: Vappu

Along with Christmas, New Year's Eve and Midsummer, Vappu is one of the four biggest holidays celebrated in Finland. While other European countries traditionally celebrate Labor Day on the first day of May - often with parades and political rallies - in Finland festivities begin on the evening of April 30 and continue all through the night. Though in Germanic folklore Walpurgis Night was identified with a witches' meeting, Finnish Vappu is a student holiday, during which university students wear their black-and-white student caps (traditionally acquired on graduation from high school), lots of alcohol is consumed, and a good time is had by all. If the weather permits (and at that time of the year in Finland you can get anything from snow to near-summer temperatures), on May 1 people can enjoy a picnic in the park with family and friends.
Source: Author LadyNym

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor stedman before going online.
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