by Christos Paraskevopoulos, degree student in Environmental Engineering

Europe of the 21st century is compilation of people with different languages, religions, histories, skin colours and cultures. All this applies ideally in our multicultural community in TAMK expanding our horizons to the most distant and remote places of the world. Young people from the all over the globe add their personality and deposit their soul making our little village in the middle of Finland a vivid center of interest.

My favourite activity in Finland is sauna. On my early days in Finland when sauna for me was just a hot humid-less extra room in the house or building and I had a hard time to understand the culture behind this event.

Inside picture of a sauna: brown wooden walls, ceiling and benches - a small window as well.

My new place of harmony!

Then I found my first sauna ystävä (= friend). He had patience to explain what the Finns mean when they say “we get life and death in sauna” and how sauna is such an important integrated social activity in the unique Finnish culture. I come from Greece and when I there want to talk with a friend to get some advise, to share an opinion or just to hang out we go to a coffee house (καφενείο) preferably by the coastline or on a mountain hill and we sit there and talk for hours.

Two male winter swimmers in the hole in the ice

Fresh life!

In Finland people are more introspektiivisiä (= introspective) and sauna helps for those tough defences to drop or better melt!!! When you go in sauna and the temperature is 80 – 90°C you body stresses and your mind must decide if it should focus on preserving your suspensions or preserve your life. And guess what! It chooses to drop the defences and then the good time starts. When you enter the sauna you leave outside except from your cloths your bad attitude and you go there to enjoy yourself. You go there to have fun, to be with people you care and to clear your mind. You cleanse you body as the toxins come out from your pores and you start to sweat like not tomorrow. After a few minutes you can go out have a cold shower, dive in the cold icy lake, go out in the cold snow and my favourite drop on the snow and make little angels.

In my sauna preferences I add two of my bad habits. Cold beer during sauna and smoking a cigarette during the sauna breaks.

An angel gesture in the snow

My bright winter angel

Even after a busy day (and as a TAMK student we have many of those) when I know that I’m going to have sauna it makes my day and give me the motivation to go on. An after the Sauna experience you feel both relieved and energetic either to go to sleep or to go out and party all night. It’s up to you to try them both.

Eläköön suomalainen sauna!