As Finland gains more and more tourists each year, it’s important to understand that Finns are unlike the people in many other countries. For example, they’re rather diverse when it comes to religion, ranging from not religious at all to devout members of the Lutheran Church. This cultural diversity extends to their language, which has many different dialects spoken by different people across the country, as well as their cuisine, which varies by region and tradition. If you’re planning on visiting Finland soon, it pays to learn a little bit about these things in advance.
Religion in Finland
Finland is a land of many religions. The majority of the population is Lutheran, but there are also a significant number of Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Muslims. Finnish culture is very tolerant of different religious beliefs and there is no official state religion. This diversity is reflected in the country’s customs and manners. For example, it is considered polite to ask about someone’s religious beliefs before discussing sensitive topics such as politics or sex. There is also a lot of ethnic diversity in Finland. The largest minority groups are the Sami people, who have their own unique culture and language, and the Roma people.
The Finnish take their manners and customs seriously, and it’s important to be sensitive to your actions and words when dealing with people from other cultures. As a general rule, avoid topics like politics, sex, and religion if you want to avoid offending someone. If someone’s religion is brought up in conversation or something happens that touches on faith-based beliefs, be patient with them if they ask for time before responding so they can pray about it. It’s also polite to refrain from making any negative remarks regarding a person’s religious beliefs as some people may feel insulted.
How did Christianity spread?
In the 12th and 13th centuries, German and Swedish crusaders arrived in Finland. It was not until the 16th century that Christianity gained a significant foothold in the country. This was due in large part to the efforts of King Gustav Vasa of Sweden, who formalized Christianity as the state religion. Today, Christianity is the largest religion in Finland, with over 63% of the population identifying as Christian.
The vast majority of Finnish Christians belong to either Lutheranism or Orthodox Christianity. There are also small Catholic and Baptist communities, as well as a sizable number of other Christian denominations. Four percent (4%) of Finns consider themselves atheists. For example, there is a significant Russian Orthodox population located around Helsinki and Espoo due to immigration from Russia and Estonia.
The Finnish population is also comprised of a large number of people who identify with other religions, including Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. About 5% of Finns consider themselves Muslim and there are around 12,000 Jews living in Finland. Buddhism was brought to Finland by ethnic Swedes who moved to live on Finn lands during different periods throughout history.
Naming Rules, Language, & Tradition
In Finland, the custom is to give a child the name of family members, including that of grandparents and other relatives. There may be more than one family member of a certain name who is celebrated on an individual’s birthday. Finnish culture places a high value on personal space and privacy, so it’s considered impolite to ask personal questions or invade someone’s space without permission. It’s also considered polite to wait until someone has finished speaking before starting a conversation. When it comes to religion, Finland is home to a variety of faiths including Lutheranism, Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, and Judaism. However, over 60% of the population is non-religious.
One of the common greetings here is Moi for hi and Hei for hello. However, Moi is generally used by younger Finns and Hei by older adults. People use phrases when greeting someone or saying goodbye to them. They are often different depending on the city or town.
Although Finnish is spoken throughout Finland, it has several dialects including Savo (Savonian), Sotkamo (Karelian), Karelian, Swedish-speaking Åland Islands, Ostrobothnia, Southern Ostrobothnia (spoken near Vaasa city), Northern Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia (spoken near Seinäjoki city) and Eastern Uusimaa dialect.
Festivals and Traditions, Sports and Games
Finland is a land of many cultures, with a rich history and diverse traditions. The country is home to a variety of religions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. Finland also has a strong tradition of music and art. Sports are an important part of Finnish culture, with popular sports including hockey, football, and skiing. Games are also popular in Finland, with some of the most popular games being chess, Go, and backgammon.
Finland has an official state religion, but freedom of religion is guaranteed by law. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland was established as a national church during Finland’s period as a part of Sweden and remains popular today. However, other religions and branches of Christianity are considered to be significant minorities in Finland.
Islam makes up about 4% (1.1 million) of the population according to with immigrant communities arriving primarily from Iraq, Somalia, Kosovo, and Russia. Judaism also plays an important role in Finnish culture: there are around 6,000 Jews living in Finland today; however, community members point out that at times their numbers were much higher due to emigration over several hundred years ago.
Education & Communication
In a country like Finland with a population of only 5.5 million people, it’s no surprise that the majority of the population identify as Christian. However, what may be surprising is that over 1% of the population identify as Muslim. This is due largely in part to the recent influx of refugees and immigrants seeking asylum in Finland. While the Muslim population is still relatively small, it’s growing rapidly.
Presently, all public schools in Finland teach Christian morals, though some schools have started teaching philosophy and ethics, too, but are not necessarily related to any specific religion. These classes tend to be voluntary so students who prefer to study Christian teachings do not need to attend them. The hope is that by exposing students early on to other forms of belief systems, it will increase acceptance for different types of religious practices later on in life.