One can notice a special attitude to baths in Finland. It has become a cult place, where you can not only wash yourself, but you can restore your strengths and find a peace of mind. There is a great number of such “paradises” in this northern country: approximately every third citizen of Finland has a bath.
Legend about “hot Finnish guys”
Severe climate of the North, hard work and the life of Finnish peasants close to nature played an important role in the appearance saunas there. The history of Finnish sauna has become a legend about “hot Finnish guys”, which were freezing in the woods. Wandering, they came upon the ruins of a house, through the tattered roof of which snow fell down. Poor guys made a fire to get warm, and fire with snow turned this house into a sweating-room.
Love to dry steam in Finland
Sauna, which is heated with dry steam, thoroughly settled down in everyday life of Finns as well as gained enormous popularity in many countries. There is such a great love to dry steam in Finland, that they set saunas even in apartments in cities.
There are a lot of saunas in Finland everywhere: in any institutions, in many apartments and nearly in all country houses. Finns also invented “bath” competitions of endurance to high temperature.
The features of saunas in Finland
Finnish saunas are divided into lomasaunas, salosaunas, kurosaunas and erosaunas depending on their size (from two visitors to a few people), but they all act according one principle: “hot stove + steam”.
In comparison with Russian sauna with wet steam there is dry steam in Finnish one. Many Finns appreciate such a simple device for massage as a broom. But many of them don’t consider it necessary, because it helps to wet the air in sauna.
There are also some common features: Finnish and Russian ancient baths were heated with smoke; both Finns and Russians like extreme changes of temperature and are fond of diving into the cold water or snow after the sweating-room.
There is a private unwritten law in all saunas in Finland: you shouldn’t enter there in bathing suits and swimming trunks. That is why men and women take a steam bath separately or use a towel.
Ancient sauna in Finland
In ancient times sauna was considered to be a sacred place. It was a belief that a good spirit lived there in clouds of steam.
Sauna served as a place for relaxation after tensioned and hard work. Ancient Finns treated all diseases with the help of baths; ancient women gave birth in the baths.
The ancestry of modern Finns took a steam in a group. This ancient tradition is alive in many private, family saunas nowadays.
Modern sauna in Finland
Modern sauna in Finland is widely advertised in various spheres of life and activities. Sauna brings especially great benefit for health, relaxation and high sporting achievements.
There is the special “World of Saunas Hallan Saaga” in Finland at a resort Ukkohala. It consists of Finnish, Turkish and Urals baths, Jacuzzi and a small pool. This wonderful place appeared following Russian tourists’ example, their love to take a steam bath after skiing.
There is the society of enthusiasts and bath-lovers “Sauna” in the capital of Finland - Helsinki. This society studies the influence of baths on the human body. It publishes its own magazine “Sauna”. They also hold different exhibitions and international congresses devoted to sauna.
Tourists will be able to visit the unique museum of saunas in the open air in the village Muuruma, near Jyvaskyla. There are baths of different times.