Lifestyle

Joulusauna kuuluu jouluun

23.12.2016
Vasta kuuluu joulusaunaan

Sini­nen hämy laskeu­tuu pakkases­sa kim­meltävän hangen ylle. Katse hakeu­tuu taivaalle. Onko tulos­sa tähtikirkas yö?

Han­kien ympäröimä joulusauna tuprut­taa kut­su­vasti savua pii­pus­taan. Ja tuol­la­han joulu­tont­tu jo hiip­pailee saunan ympäril­lä kiu­luineen. Se on kut­su koko per­heelle astel­la lumista polkua pitkin joulusaunaan. Jos on ollut kiire tai stres­si, saunan lem­peät löy­lyt rauhoit­ta­vat mie­len, ja voit aloit­taa aaton vieton. Edessä odot­ta­vat muut joulu­per­in­teet, joulu­a­te­ria ja ehkäpä pukkikin tulee.

 

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Joulusauna on ollut aina suo­ma­laisille yksi tärkeim­mistä joulu­tra­di­tioista. Sauna on kaiken puh­tau­den sym­boli, onhan siel­lä syn­nyt­ty ja kuoltukin. Saunomi­nen yhdis­tää per­heitä ja ystäviä. Joulu­na saunaan men­nään yleen­sä van­han per­in­teen mukaises­ti ennen kuin ilta pime­nee.

Moni, jol­la on sisäsaunan lisäk­si ulkosauna, läm­mit­tää ainakin joulu­na tun­nel­mallisen pihasaunan. Taloy­htiöis­säkin on tapana läm­mit­tää asukkaille joulusauna. Saunan läm­pö, tun­nel­malliset kynt­tilät ja vedessä tuok­su­vat saunav­i­h­dat lisäävät joulusaunan tun­nel­maa. Ihon alle hiipinyt läm­pö säi­lyy pitkään, ja koko keho on raukea.

Aat­tona sauno­taan rauhas­sa ja pitkään hil­jaisu­u­den val­lites­sa tai hil­jaa rupatellen. Mut­ta ei kuitenkaan niin pitkään, että löy­lyt laimeni­si­vat. Se on tärkeää, kos­ka väen pois­tut­tua joulusaunas­ta löy­ly­i­hin saa­pu­vat talon vaina­jat ja hal­ti­at. Muis­tathan siis heit­tää viimeisek­si tujakat löy­lyt heitä varten. Ja ovi rakoselleen, jot­ta hei­dän on help­po kulkea. Muista myös pois­tua saunas­ta ennen pimeän tuloa, jot­ta nämä arvokkaat vier­aat näkevät tul­la.

 

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Stämning i Julbastun

Jul­bas­tu i ljussken och skim­rande snö­drivor. Ångan som reser sig från huden upp mot den kolsvar­ta him­me­len. Det är det fin­s­ka själ­slivet.

Vi lever störs­ta delen av året i mörk­er och kyla. Då smakar bas­tubadan­det. På vin­tern värmer bas­tun våra lem­mar som bliv­it kalla i kölden. Den smek­er våra tröt­ta krop­par och ger plåster på såren. Bas­tubadan­det kan jäm­föras med en rit­u­al där man renar sig kropp­sligt och andligt. Efter bas­tun kän­ner man sig som åter­född. Till vin­ter­bas­tun hör det väsentligt till att rul­la i snön eller att bada i en isvak.

En bas­tu­tur står över de andra, jul­bas­tun. Speciellt inom de famil­jer vars jul­stök redan är undanstökat. Den nuti­da hus­frun tänker ännu i jul­bas­tun på allt som ska göras även om det­ta inte hör hem­ma i bas­tun. Bas­tubadan­det bor­de man plan­era så att allt arbete redan är gjort. Att man har tid att ta det lugnt och var­va ner, för­bere­da sig inför jul­fi­ran­det. Jul­bas­tuns stämn­ing ska­par man med granris och ljus.

Bas­tuho­nung

Du kan unna din hud lite lyx med att smör­ja den med egen tillverkad bas­tuho­nung. Tillred en större mängd och ge till exem­pel som present till din granne. Bas­tuho­nung tillred­er man för­mån­ligt av honung som mjukas upp med olja.

Till­sätt lite olivol­ja och några drop­par Tea Tree olja i honun­gen.

Genom att prö­va några gånger hit­tar du den rät­ta kon­sis­tensen.

Tea Tree olja kan ersät­tas med någon annan eterisk olja. Till­sätt några drop­par i taget så att doften inte blir för inten­siv.

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Finnish essentials

The Sauna – SWEAT & ENJOY

 

The Finnish habit of sweat­ing in a lit­tle dark hut and then rolling naked in the snow is quite a curios­i­ty for many for­eign­ers.

How­ev­er, the Sauna is a vital part of every Finns essen­tial nature.

 

The sauna is to Finns, as wine is to the French – a neces­si­ty of life! In sum­mer, you have the heal­ing sun­rays that warm up the water drops on your skin. In win­ter, the can­dle lit sauna, the shin­ing white snow and the trans­par­ent steam that ris­es from your skin against the dark win­ter sky. These are the mem­o­ries of Finnish skin.

The most typ­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion of the Finnish sauna is a lake­side sauna, green birch­es, untouched nature and a sun­ny sum­mer evening — and it is true. Nev­er­the­less, the cold fact is, lit­er­al­ly, that win­ter is quite long. Dur­ing this peri­od, the heal­ing warmth of a sauna makes the Finns relax. In win­ter the warm sauna heals our tired bod­ies and is a balm for our souls. Small details can add to your sauna plea­sure. Flex­i­ble whisks of juniper branch­es and spiced hon­ey, linen tow­els, can­dle light, all add up to tran­quil­li­ty. Treat your skin with home­made sauna lotions made from hon­ey, olive oil and tea tree oil.

The sauna is com­pa­ra­ble to a retreat; it is like a rit­u­al, a men­tal and phys­i­cal purifi­ca­tion, after which we feel new­ly born. More­over, even in win­ter many Finns like to go swim­ming in the frozen lake or at least roll around in the snow. A good shock for ones blood cir­cu­la­tion.

 

From the cra­dle to the grave

The sauna has a tra­di­tion of over 2000 years in Fin­land. Cen­tral Europe also used sweat baths but the bathing cul­ture dete­ri­o­rat­ed between 1500 and 1600, when they sus­pect­ed that syphilis spread in the sauna. How­ev­er, in Fin­land the sauna was nev­er banned.   

Saunas were impor­tant at both the begin­ning and end of life. In Fin­land chil­dren were born in saunas and it is where the deceased were pre­pared for their final jour­ney.

The first female net­works were gen­er­at­ed in saunas. Women dried linen, smoked meat and brewed beer in saunas. Saunas were used not only to bath but also to heal. Suc­tion cup­ping was a very com­mon prac­tice that took place in saunas. Sweat­ing was also believed to improve ones health. In addi­tion to heal­ing places, saunas were also sacred places.

In those days, most of the saunas were smoke saunas, orig­i­nal­ly buried into the ground. As Finns got pro­fi­cient with log build­ing, saunas arose above ground. We have come a long way since then. In east­ern and west­ern Fin­land, saunas were dif­fer­ent in both appear­ance and heat­ing tech­niques, but they were nev­er­the­less smoke saunas.  These days smoke saunas are cher­ished rar­i­ties. Even though the smoke sauna has made a new come back, you hard­ly find pub­lic smoke saunas in cities.

 

The great equalis­er

Whilst, as late as the six­ties and sev­en­ties it was still a work­ing class rit­u­al to have a sauna on Fri­days after a hard work­ing week, the sauna is a great equalis­er.  Class dis­tinc­tions are stripped away — it is hard to be bump­tious and puffed up when you are naked. If there are dis­cus­sions while bathing, they are led accord­ing to the prin­ci­ples of equal­i­ty. How­ev­er, it is com­mon that nobody talks and a com­fort­able quiet­ness fills the sauna. Even the most cal­lous bab­bler, if not com­plete­ly deranged, lets oth­ers enjoy their silent pri­va­cy.   

Pub­lic saunas were boom­ing as urban­iza­tion brought peo­ple to Helsin­ki for work.  Apart­ment build­ings did not have saunas in those days, but usu­al­ly there was a wood heat­ed pub­lic sauna on each block. As the soci­ety got wealth­i­er, saunas were built in cel­lars of apart­ment build­ings, and lat­er even in flats. As this hap­pened, pub­lic wood-heat­ed saunas faced hard times since there were not enough vis­i­tors any­more.

 

Unwrit­ten rules

Tra­di­tion­al­ly dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions of Finns occu­pied the sauna at the same time; usu­al­ly women and chil­dren first, fol­lowed by the men. Nowa­days, with small fam­i­ly sizes and rel­a­tives liv­ing else­where, it is com­mon for house­holds to bath togeth­er. Friends often bath togeth­er regard­less of gen­der — at least younger ones. When you have old­er guests, women and men usu­al­ly go to the sauna sep­a­rate­ly. This is con­ve­nient because saunas are often quite small and it is not com­fort­able if it is crowd­ed.

  In Cen­tral Europe, there are pub­lic saunas that are vis­it­ed by both gen­ders at the same time. This strikes a Finn as weird, since in Finnish pub­lic places like spas or sports facil­i­ties there are always sep­a­rate saunas for men and women. How­ev­er, where ever one baths in pub­lic there are cer­tain unwrit­ten rules that Finns get in their moth­ers milk.

  It is not appro­pri­ate to quar­rel, raise ones voice or oth­er­wise behave in a dis­turb­ing man­ner in the sauna. It is not appro­pri­ate to throw so much water on the stones of the stove that oth­ers lose their bathing plea­sure in the aris­ing heat.   

Dis­cus­sions about sex, reli­gion or pol­i­tics are best left out­side. Always take oth­er bathers into con­sid­er­a­tion. If you bath alone you can do as you please. Sing out of tune or med­i­tate.

 

A whisk of birch twigs

In the last decade dif­fer­ent sauna prod­ucts have come ashore in Fin­land: essen­tial oils for a good fra­grance and a relaxed, heal­ing atmos­phere. Not every­body sees these prod­ucts as nec­es­sary, but there is one prod­uct that has stood fast over the years: the whisk of birch twigs. A home made whisk can now be replaced with a bought one, and the prod­uct assort­ment even includes deep frozen whisks of birch twigs — while bathing you can enjoy the scent of sum­mer 365 days a year.  For­eign­ers are often aston­ished when see­ing how Finns beat them­selves with a whisk of twigs – and each oth­er for that mat­ter. Is this how these God for­sak­en crea­tures treat them­selves – like des­per­ate sin­ners? But actu­al­ly it looks worse than it is.

 

From here to eter­ni­ty

The Finnish sauna has lived through many phas­es. It has sur­vived the pest and many wars, moved from the coun­try­side to big cities, but it has still kept its orig­i­nal char­ac­ter.  The Finnish sauna has been relent­less and the social mean­ing of going to the sauna has only grown. There isn’t a Finnish foot­ball club or lit­er­a­ture group that wouldn’t arrange a sauna evening for a small get togeth­er every now and then. An evening in the sauna with friends can be every­thing from hilar­i­ous par­ty­ing to bar­be­cu­ing or med­i­tat­ing in can­dle light in a mild­ly heat­ed sauna.  

 

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Tek­stit Päivi Ahvo­nen, Rei­ja Kokko­la  Kuvat Vir­pi Lehti­nen

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