So, in comments to this thread about some castrated Swede making an ass of himself at Stingray and LabRats place, a Finn posted this most excellent comic, (drawn by a Dane), which I think describes Suomi, and its relationship with the rest of northern Europe, quite well (click to embiggen):
Well, the first thing out to be that most Finns wouldn't WANT to be invited to a Scandinavian party, because they don't consider themselves Scandinavian.
Actually the very first thing is that it's not Finland, it's Suomi. Finland is the Swedish word for the place. As it happens, Sweden conquered about 1/3 of Europe in the 30 years war, so they got to name or rename a bunch of things, including Suomi.
That's OK, the rest of the world can call it Finland, they'll call it Suomi and everybody else can fuck off. Unless they're talking to foreigners of course, most of whom would have no idea what they were talking about if they called their own country by its proper name, so they'll use Finland for them.
Remarkably, most aren't particularly bitter about this fact. There are just so many other, better things to be bitter about.
So the actually the SECOND thing, is that most Finns (and Karelians, and Sami, and Lapps, and Kolans. Finns are only one ethnocultural group inside Suomi, in particular those who originated in the southern fens) don't consider themselves Scandanavian. Instead, they self identify as either their core ethnocultural group, or as Finns (in the geocultural sense, not the ethnic sense), or if they're more classically educated, as Fennoscandians.
To many Finns (yes, I'm going to use that name because it's just simpler that way), calling them Scandinavian is an insult... Frankly, because they consider Scandinavians ineffectual communist poofs who actually HELPED the NAZIs and the Russians in WW2 (that bit is kind of important).
You see, what got the Finn to post the cartoon was my comment “Let’s not even TALK about the Finns, and their “issues” with Russia, Germany…”.
Think of the thing you hate most in the world. Now multiply that by about 1000. Now imagine that thing invades your country, and rapes and murders your mother, sister, and baby brother.
Got that firmly fixed in your mind?
Ok, that's about how the Finns feel about Russia, and the Russians. They are only slightly less hostile towards the Germans.
Yes, still, today, 60 some years later. The Finns are as good as the Irish at holding grudges... maybe better; given that Finland has only been a country since the 15th century (and most og that time spent ruled by Russia or Sweden), and there are still grudges being written about in poetry that date 1000 years before that (more on Finnish poetry later).
I have given many people advice about traveling in Scandanavia over the years (most people not Scandinavian include Finland in Scandinavia); having been myself several times.
The first bit of advice I always give is “Never drink with a Finn, unless you feel like getting in a friendly knife fight. No seriously, there will be a knife fight, or at the very least a rock or iceball fight, but it will be friendly. You’ll only be cut up a little bit and then everyone will go back and drink some more… Unless you’re a Russian in which case you’ll end up wearing your testicles as earrings”.
Oh and I don't care who you are, or what you think your tolerance is; unless you are a hardcore alcoholic, that 5 foot 6 inch tall Finn is going to drink you under the table.
The funny thing is, everyone always thinks I’m joking.
Then I remind them that the Finns greatest national hero is Simo Häyhä and explain the story
For those who don't know, Hayha is the sniper with the most confirmed kills in all of history. He has 542 kills, most at night; about half with an iron sighted Mosin Nagant rifle, and half with a submachine gun at close range; all over the course of less than 100 days. He also got shot in the head, blowing about half his skull off; and he not only survived, he went back to hunting wolves for sport... his favorite hobby.
If that doesn’t convince them, I explain that every adult male in Finland still has access to a machine gun, in case the Russians come back (up until relatively recently stored at home). Yes, seriously, it's in case the Russians come back. That's also why they all learn to cross country ski. It's not for fun or fitness, it's so they can kill Russians better (more on that later).
I also mention that Finns own nearly as many guns per capita as Americans do, but drink 8 times as much hard alcohol per capita (we Americans are in general much bigger beer and wine drinkers, but Finns still drink about twice what we do per capita including all forms of alcohol).
That last bit MIGHT have a little bit to do with the fact that they have twice the suicide rate, and more than twice the murder rate (the highest in western Europe).
…and that everyone with any balls still carries a puukko (fuck the ‘77 law banning knife carry).
And that they swear as much as the Irish do (or rather, as a percentage of the total words they speak, they swear as frequently.... The Finns are a notably laconic people, while the Irish... aren't), but more creatively.
The Irish may not have invented the word fuck, but they are surely it's most prolific users; whereas the Finns are far more likely to damn you to hell for fucking a reindeer... or something similarly animalistic, theological, and scatological.
From all that, you’d think I disliked the Finns.
Not in the slightest. If you knew me well, you’d know those are all compliments.
I love the Finns. I love the attitude, the drinking, the no-nonsense acceptance that pretty much everything in life is going to fuck you over, so you might as well just deal with it and get on with your life.
Oh and the clear eyed knowledge that at every moment nature is trying her damndest to kill you; so you’d better kill her first.
Plus, they're are WAY less socialist than the rest of northern Europe (not that that is saying much anymore); and given their utter hatred of Russia and all things associated with it, are unlikely to go full commie, unlike Sweden (which is in a death race between communism and Sharia).
Seriously, Finns are about the least pussified people in Europe.
If you're going to understand the Finns, you need to get something they call "sisu"...
We'd call it, intestinal fortitude. Balls, strength of will, courage, keeping up your end, going on because you have to... the ability to withstand and persevere, and succeed no matter what gets thrown at you... It's hard to encapsulate in words, but that's sisu.
Sisu is the core of the Finnish character.
That, and pissing people off who don't have it, and don't get it.
Remember I mentioned Finnish poetry? Well, it primarily consists of drinking, fighting, fucking, hunting dangerous animals with knives, more drinking and fighting, and making fun of other people for being less manly, and not drinking and stabbing as well as the writer etc...
One of the more popular winter passtimes in Finnland (other than drinking... which given the 19 hour nights in winter can be epic), is to get into the hottest sauna you can possibly stand for as long as you can stand it, then running out naked through the snow and ice to jump into a semi frozen river, lake, or ocean; or failing that a convenient snow bank; then repeating that four or five times.
Then there's this thing called the "Eurovision song contest" every year. Most countries submit light pop tunes, sung by boy bands, pretty gay men, or pop princesses.
In fact, here's an article about how gay the whole thing really is.
Typical entries would be something like this (an entry from Sweden a couple years ago):
Many of the top scoring songs are drag performances, and in 1998 a transsexual actually won the thing (admittedly, a very good looking one).
Finland submitted this:
and they WON.
Oh and Simo Hayha? Yeah, dude is AWESOME, in the literal sense.
And there’s always what y’all did to the Russians in the winter war:
Nice piece of work that.
Did I mention that the Finns didn't like how unreliable and inaccurate the AK was, so they re-engineered it, and produced the finest AK variant available, the Valmet.
Yes, the machine guns the Finns plan to use to kill the Russians the next time they try to invade, are the Russians own guns, made better.
Any country whose unofficial motto is “Hakka Palle” (generally translated into English as “Hack them down”) is ok with me.
Seriously, don't fuck with the Finns. They're like drunken arctic badgers.