Alright y'all. Chasing Cars is coming in less than a month! And with it being set in Finland, there's a few things you need to know! For today I'm going to tell you a little about saunas. You're probably thinking I know what a sauna is. It's hot. And you sit in it. In misery.
WELL, first of all, sauna is a Finnish word and it's all about the pronunciation. It's not Saw-na. It's Sao-oo-na. At least, that's the closest I can get to how to phonetically sound it out. I'm no linguist.
Second, did you know nearly every family in Finland has one? Finns love their saunas. It's a HUGE part of their culture. They use their saunas several times during the week.
Third, they can get up to 70˚-90˚ Celsius. Yeah, you read that right. CELSIUS. So, like 158˚-194˚ Fahrenheit. Now it's not so bad when you have a nice cold lake to jump into when the heat becomes too uncomfortable.
Also, Finns go buck naked. Yup. Even in mixed company. Though, they sometimes keep genders separated unless you're family or married. But, don't be surprised if you go to a public sauna in Finland and get an eyeful. It's not uncommon. It's not a sexual thing. It's just a sauna. If you want, wrap a towel around yourself.
Next, saunas are kind of a holy place for Finns. Even someone who might swear like a sailor, will hold back because it's considered rude to curse in a saunas. It's a place for relaxation, almost meditative. Don't be rude.
Lastly, the reason for this post. The vihta. Vee-ta. It's a bunch of dried birch leaves tied together. What do you do with it? You gently slap your skin with it in the sauna. What? I know. Crazy Finns. But, it's actually really good for you. The oils help with bugs bites and sore muscles. So, when Amber sees a vihta hanging outside the sauna door, a little confused, she has to ask Olle...
Now, we didn't set Chasing Cars in Finland for the heck of it. Fun fact. I'm half Finnish. My mom was born and raised there until she moved to the States when she was 18 to marry my dad. So, I'm a little familiar with the country and have traveled there a few times. We based Olle's mökki off of my grandparent's. What's a mökki? The short answer? It's a cottage. So, if you want more of a visual into Olle's world here's a few shots of my grandparent's land.