In this episode I speak to Jaakko and Martti Koskenkorva about the most recognisable Finnish word in the world, Sauna. I visited them at Koskenkorva Trahteeri to talk about the history, the traditions and why the sauna is so important to the Finns.
Guests: Jaakko & Martti Koskenkorva
Download an MP3 file of Just Why Is The Sauna So Important To Finns?
The middle of winter seems like the perfect time to learn more about the Finnish institution that is the sauna. The most recognisable Finnish word that’s used around the world. You’ll also hear me (trying to do things properly) use the Finnish pronunciation of the word sauna while Jaakko, because he’s speaking English, uses the Anglicised pronunciation – thanks Jaakko!
The Koskenkorvan Trahteeri is a place that hosts functions, weddings, parties, business meetings, as well as offering a sauna experience to visitors from overseas. It was clearly an ideal place to go and learn more about the sauna.
On the podcast, you can hear Jaakko and Martti walking me around their various saunas, including the award-winning ‘Best Sauna in Finland.’ They explain the difference between each type and explaining how the sauna has been used through the ages. For example, why the sauna was used as a maternity room, or that the sauna is a well-used feature of Finnish business meetings.
You will also learn about the different experiences in the various types of sauna; wood-burning smoke sauna, to electric powered and even infra-red saunas. Jaakko tells us why Finns hit each other with twigs in the sauna, and Martti explains how the sauna was important in Finland’s resistance of Russia during the 1939 Winter War.
If that’s not enough, Martti also unlocked the tap that’s connected to the Koskenkorva distillery, located just next door, where you can taste the freshest vodka around – just 6 minutes old!
Finnish words in this Episode
- Kiuaskivet – Sauna stones
- Kiuas – Sauna stove/heater
- Savu sauna – Smoke sauna
- Savupirtti – Smoke cabin
- Aitokiuas sauna – Authentic heat sauna
- Kertalämmitteinen – Single-heat (once heated, remains warm for hours)
- Vihta – A ‘whisk’ of birch twigs used to massage, exfoliate and relax in the sauna
- Löyly – The steam created by adding water to the kiuas
- Kyrönjoki – the river running near to Koskenkorva Trahteeri
- Joki – River
- Avanto – Lit. Hole in the Ice (required to enter the frozen river in winter!)