Tuesday, December 12, 2017

We Celebrate Amazing Finland's 100th Year and Sisu too.

Not long after we got our call to come to Finland to serve a senior mission for our church, (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or The Mormons) we found out that we would be here for Finland's Centennial year.  We were so excited.  There have been many experiences we've had, because they were available to celebrate the Centennial.  We toured the President's House last summer, its every bit as grand as the White House.  There were bigger and better fireworks this year as well.  We even got to sauna in the world's largest wood burning sauna. (It seats 200, but our group had just 100.  The fire for the sauna has to burn for two days before the day of the event to insure its hot enough!)

Then the long awaited event happened!! On December 6th, Finland celebrated its 100th birthday.  I bought a commercial mud cake (Yummy) and added powdered sugar for snow, and a snowman I made just for the cake.
 I decorated the table, and hung a banner of Finnish flags.

I even embellished a paper star with blue and white felt balls and blue and white strips.  Mr. P said it now looks like a pinata ... hmmmm.

Then I  bought all the traditional Finnish foods we've been enjoying, like this Makkara (Finnish Sausage) ... I took a picture of the package so you can see the 100 in the upper left hand corner of the blue and white packaging ... many things has been labeled like that this year.

I asked Missionary friends that I work with to bring other Finnish favorites ...
 Then we gathered for dinner ... those who had blue clothing wore it!
 Here we go, started at the boiled potatoes, then Makkara,we go clockwise.  Under the sausage is a cold beat salad, quite like potato salad, but pink, next is a carrot and rice casserole.  There are the quintessential cucumber slices and meat balls, then a piece of salmon (and it's lemon) and last of all is a riisipiirakka (traditional rice pie) which is served with egg butter. (A hard boiled egg, chopped with a tablespoon of firm butter will be enough for two pies).  Yep!  All Yummy!
 For dessert we had the mud pie with a lot of whipping cream, and these pastry stars, which are traditional for Christmas.  
 Here are the office people, ourselves, Sister Airto, the Londons, Sister Potter and Sister Romberg.

After dinner, a few of us headed out to the cemetery, where it is always traditional to place candles on the graves of loved ones and fallen soldiers.
This is an area of the cemetery that is dedicated to soldiers.  The large cross is a general area where candles, flowers and wreaths are left to honor all of the war dead.  It is beautiful and peaceful, and a good place to pay homage to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, so that this small (numbers wise, just 6 million people) country, who has stood up to its monstrously powerful eastern neighbor, can be free.

After we got to Finland, I read up on the Winter War, at the beginning of WWII when Russia invaded Finland.  There were more Russian Soldiers involved in the invasion, than there were Finnish citizens at the time. Finland stood up to Russia, and many conclude that Finland won the first part of the war. When Russia regrouped later, and fought smarter, Finland, with dignity came to the table to negotiate, and though they lost about 1/5th of their landmass, and had to agree to pay Russia's war costs (really Russia?) they maintained their autonomy as a country.  They also actually paid off their war debt to Russia (it took until the end of the 1950's) and were the ONLY country involved in WWII who did so.

Can you tell that I have come to love and respect these people?  They even have a word that describes what it takes to be a Finn.  The word is sisu.  It means have the guts to do what has to be done, no matter how hard, and to do it without whining.  


  1. It is so wonderful how you have embraced the Finish culture and you and hubby just shine with light. Have a very Merry Christmas!
    xoxo Jo

  2. Sorry, I leave my message here because I didn't find your contact form...
    Hello !
    I'm writing an article for a french DIY magazine (printed on paper) about miniature gardens.
    I find your creation very original and beautiful !
    (seen here : http://pollyanna-reinvents.blogspot.fr/2012/04/tuesday-tutorial-making-miniature_10.html)
    Do you allow me to show photos of it in the article ?
    Of course, I will write your name next to the pictures and give the address of your blog/website in the addresses book at the end of the magazine !
    If you have some news (book, exhibition, classroom...) we also can talk about them (the magazine will be out in may).
    If yes, can you please answer as soon as possible (with sending photos in high resolution it would be perfect !) ?
    I have to give my paper very quickly... :-/
    Best regards,
    Elise AMANN (for the magazine named "Atelier Déco & Créations" issue 42)
    please answer directly to my email address elise.amann(at)wanadoo.fr
    Note that the second part in the next issue of the magazine will be about fairies garden, with more little accessories and characters...

    1. Sorry. Just saw this. Your fine to use anything. It’s likely too late. Sorry about that.