Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter! ... greetings from the ice-floe

I wrote about celebrating Easter in Finland in the last year post Easter, Midsummer and Christmas traditions in Finland, so I will not go on with being surprised at the Easter witches today. 
Few days ago I was making pre-Easter cleanup and I came across Easter postcard which I got from mother-in-law few years ago. I kept it because it amused me. It shows two chickens flowing on an ice-floe on a river. The ice-floe during Easter time seemed to me amusing and unrealistic few years ago but not anymore. Now I know it is every year reality:-)
BUT this year in Poland there is also snow right now! Incredible! I do not remember snow in Poland during Easter. Never. In late March there used to be already flowers and green grass everywhere. 
Despite snowy scenery let's still enjoy this special season, 
I wish everyone Happy Easter and the real warm, green and sunny spring coming soon

Thursday, March 21, 2013

spring season has come (only according to lunar calendar so far)

Eh, I was late ... The March equinox when night and day are nearly exactly the same length of 12 hours marks the first day of spring. It occurs between March 19 - 21, this year it was yesterday on March 20. So according to calendar, there is already spring! But looking at the temperatures and amount of snow, instead of the spring I can seen a lot of frustration around
People used to enjoy a bit warmer weather in the end of March. No one expects flowers in March in Finland, but daily temperatures below -10'C are hard to tolerate. 
Yesterday my sons spent half evening defrosting potting soil (kept on balcony) to grow our Easter grass.
3 and 2 years ago there was much more snow than now, but it was not so cold. I send picture of our block of flats from 20 March 2010, look at the amount of the snow layers ... there was much snow that year still in April and a bit in late May as well, especially in shaded areas, ditches and forests. Hopefuly this year will surprise us again - with sudden hot long summer!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

frosty March again - part 2

I read in today 'Metro' newspaper that the bears in Helsinki ZOO have already woken from winter sleep! This news made me smile a mile wide. Reading this I was riding metro passing Kalasatama and suddenly I noticed a man fishing under ice in the middle of snowy bay. 
My good feeling caused by the awoken bears came back to the normal level in one second. 
But I hope that the bears' instinct was right and the weather forecasts predicting heavy frosts in March are wrong:-) 
I managed to take a quick photo, the quality is not good but I send it anyhow. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

frosty March again

I noticed that every single year here in Finland I naively expect spring in March.
This year was the same. Last week was so promising, sunny, with temperature close to 0'C and suddenly on the last Sunday morning there was -17'C. I checked up the weather forecasts and all of them inform about upcoming frosts and major snowfalls in later March. Temperatures in North Karelia and North Savo dropped last weekend to -30'C, and the weather forecasts foreshadow even -40'C this winter. We'll see ...
The photo below shows the snow dragon from our yard. According to my friend this is rather Loch Ness monster. No matter its name, I did not expect to see it in March still in its top condition.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Jesus tape saves!, wife carrying and the blue moment

The longer I live in Finland the more Finnish language I learn and more surprising phrases 
I encounter. I will mention few ... 
Sininen hetki  - the blue moment. It is name for a winter light phenomenon just before sundown, when the sky has a light bluish color.
Karhunkieli - bear's tongue. One day I heard some woman strongly recommending 
'a bear's tongue' to another women during shop conversation about kitchen cleaning. It is abrasive cloth to scrub, scratch and scrape tough stains. The real bear's tongue can be really abrasive, 
I don't know. I wonder who came up with this name?
Eukonkanto/akankanto - wife carrying:-) is a sport(!) first originated in Finland. The idea is the obstacle race of male competitors carrying their female teammates. Wife Carrying World Championships are held annually in Sonkajärvi. The official track is 253.5 meters long, has two dry and one water obstacles. The minimum weight of the carried wife is 49kg and age over 17y.
Jeesusteippi can be translated literally as a Jesus tape
It is a silver duct tape, a duck tape or a roadie tape - all phrases in use. 
There is also Finnish saying: 'Jeesusteippi pelastaa' what means 'Jesus tape saves'. I have seen few people on the street in t-shirts with this phrase printed. The tape earned its name from countless number of its usage.
In the English language it has also names: riggers' tape, hurricane tape and 100-mph tape, due to its military usage. It was used during the Vietnam War to repair or balance helicopter rotor blades. Duct tape was also used in emergency situations during spaceflights, 
i.a. it saved lives of the Apollo 13 crew during their famous flight to the moon.
So I think this tape truly deserves its Finnish name version - a Jesus tape:-).  
(photo from

Below beautiful photo of the blue moment (photo from here

I will add here more peculiar words or phrases when I hear the new ones.