Saturday, February 11, 2012

The day of friends

Valentine's Day is here soon. Ystävänpäivä in Finnish, a direct translation would be something like "the day of friends". The Finnish word ystävänpäivä is actually quite describing, because for us February 14th is more about celebrating friendship, not that much of romantic love.

Then how do we celebrate ystävänpäivä? According to the people of post office Valentine's Day is the second busiest time of the year in terms of sending post cards and letters. That's why they publish a special edition of stamps around the Valentine's. In addition to sending post cards we celebrate Valentine's Day by eating candies. The sales figures of heart-shaped jellies and Brunberg's kisses take a small peak in mid-February. Bakeries have tried to create and advertise all kinds of Valentine's pastries with pink icing, but those ideas haven't flied too far; the February pastry market is already saturated with Runeberg's torte and Laskiaispulla, so there's no room for Valentine's pastry.

In Finland the Valentine's Day is quite minimalistic. Restaurants don't have a Valentine's menu for two, supermarkets are not selling loads of pink confetti. However, I'd like to propose a tradition for celebrating Valentine's Day in Finnish style - since ystävänpäivä was included into Finnish calendar officially in the 80's, let's celebrate it in the style of 80's: dig out a waffle maker (a piece of luxury from the 80's) from somewhere, invite your friends over and make a huge pile of heart-shaped waffles - since the heart-shaped waffle irons used to be the most common (and the only?) model available in Finland.

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