Valentine’s Day- Friend’s Day the Finnish Way

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11 Feb

Valentine’s day in Finland is not a day dedicated to romance exclusively but celebrates wider friendships. In fact, the Finnish term for Valentine’s day, Ystävänpäivä, translates into “Friend’s Day.” Finns began to celebrate Ystävänpäivä in 1980. Since then, the 14th of February has been marked in calendars as a day to remember and appreciate friendships. Most Finns will celebrate Valentine’s by dedicating a part of the day for coffee, lunch or dinner dates with close friends. Most years, public venues often offer activities such as ice swimming or ice skating for groups of friends and couples of all ages. As with many other Finnish calendar events and national holidays, a sauna session can be incorporated into Friend’s Day. Public sauna events are a relaxing option to commemorate relationships, either between a bunch of friends or with that special someone. Ystävänpäivä is the second busiest day of the year for the main national postal service, Posti. 

This year, Posti has teamed up with Bauer Media to encourage people to send cards to individuals who struggle with loneliness and feelings of isolation on Friend’s day. The aim is to share joy, specifically with older people living in care homes, many of whom have had an exceptionally difficult year. This year's celebrations will certainly be slightly different compared to the usual traditional Friend’s day activities across the country. However, there is always something you can do to mark the occasion. Why not remember a close friend with a postcard, a video call or surprise them with a small gift on this Valentine’s day, the Finnish way?