A Finnish Valentine's Day

Understanding Finns

To understand Valentine's Day in Finland you must first understand Finnish behavior. Unlike much of the rest of the world, Finnish people are not touchy or publicly affectionate. Public intimacy may turn Finnish faces red and bring about an uncomfortable feeling. Finnish friends are more likely to give a firm handshake rather than to greet with a hug. So what happens on Valentine's Day in Finland?

Ystävänpäivä: Friendship day

St. Valentine's day, traditionally romantic in the rest of the world, is quite different in Finland. Ystävänpäivä is the Finnish name for St. Valentine's Day. This Finnish word means "Friendship Day" in the Finnish Language, or "Day of the friends".
Some might say that Finland has improved Valentine's Day by emphasizing the value of friends instead. Friends are there for one another through good times and bad. Yet, friends get busy, lost in work, isolated, and lost in their own life dilemmas. Strong friendships seem hard to come by in this growing and ever changing world of ours. For this reason, in Finland, February 14th is a day to say 'thanks' to our friends, celebrate human generosity and to remember what friends have been beside us at trying times. 
No matter whether Valentine's Day should be shared among lovers or between close friends, the shared theme of the day is to make a caring and thoughtful gesture towards a significant person in your life.

Valentine's Day Shopping

Traditionally in Finland, one would give cards and small gifts such as jewelry, candy and flowers to friends and relatives. It is not uncommon, that when presented with a gift will result a Finn's face will suddenly be blushed. Think about it, a public declaration of friendship?
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