by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK
Remember the blogs of Coffee (#40) and Winter (#80)? Well, one very important Finnish element is missing: SAUNA. How could I have forgot it until blog #93? Almost as impossible as forgetting your own head – in Finland.
Saunas and us. History of sauna in very brief, in size of this blog. Sauna [sauna], not [soona], is most likely the most sacred place of the Finns (forest is a bad competitor). It used to be the cleanest place in the home, the warmest (well, yeah) and the most spiritual one. Did-you-know that the name sauna refers to the stove, pack of hot stones that gives you the steam with water thrown on the pile. Sauna in the olden days was the place to be born in, to smoke meat, to wash clothes, to dry grains and to be washed for the last time before the eternal journey, to mention perhaps the most important functions. Even nowadays, you do not curse in the sauna, as the sauna elf (saunatonttu) might get mad at you and then the hell is loose. All in all, sauna is a haven and perhaps even a heaven to many.
Saunas of TAKK. There are three of them (to my knowledge). I am not sure whether they are cleaner than the rest of the premises or whether they are very spiritual places, but we sure warm them up many times a month, do not dare to curse there (too much), some of us are “reborn” there after the working hours and sometimes we enjoy grain there in a more refined form – after working hours, of course. Many meeting are finished by having a TAKK sauna, pikkujoulu (Little Christmas) is certainly started in all TAKK saunas and recreation days are nothing without the sauna.
PS. I do have to add SISU on the list. More about that in #94.