Friday, 24 June 2011

Hail to the Juhannus Sausage!

Today is the eve of Juhannus, the celebration of the mid-summer solstice. Well, the solstice was technically a few days ago, but this is the nearest weekend to it.

Juhannus is also, it seems, a celebration of the Finnish sausage.

This weekend, Finnish families are gathering together at their mökki (summer cottage), and sharing food, beer, sauna and, for some brave souls, a swim in the lake, river or sea. Central to the celebration though is: the sausage.

As I mentioned before, I lived for a few years in Germany. The Germans do like their wurst. But the Finns… well, they ADORE their makkara! Their passion is off the scale.

For proof of this sausage passion, one simply has to look at the newspapers this weekend. There are adverts like this:

The caption says: “It’s good for humans to get excited about something. For us, it’s a sausage.”

Or how about this one?

This is a clever illustration of the manly occupation of sausage-grilling. One man is clearly in charge, and very confident in his own ability. Yet, there is a sense of danger, as a bear lurks behind him. But that bear is not after the grill-maestro, it is after his sausages, as can be seen by the fact it has a fork and mustard ready. Sausages are for real men and beasts. I am also wondering whether the bear (Karhu in Finnish) could be a subtle allusion to eponymous beer, which every man needs to drink while grilling a sausage (which by the way proves men can actually multitask). Maybe I am reading too much into this….

But it’s not just about sausage producers. Here’s an advert for heart-burn medication on the front page of the Helsingin Sanomat no less:

The papers are also full of sausage related articles. Here’s one where experts have been sampling the “best of the B-team” of sausages:

And here’s another article with serving suggestions for grilled sausages from Michelin-star chef Hans Välimäki:

Pah, sausages with watercress? Must be joking!

Sausages even make it to the sports pages! Here’s former ice-hockey player Timo Jutila, demonstrating that he too is a real man (who clearly has enjoyed a sausage or two in his time):

In fact, sasauges are everywhere! Look, they even have them on mugs:

What? Those are not sausages? Oh.

Hyvää Juhannusta to all! Enjoy your makkarat!


  1. ahhh, the glow in the dark dildos...I mean hattifatingers...ahem.

    Finns do indeed adore their sausage. But quite honestly, I don't know why. I'm not even sure that you are legally allowed to call those nasty pre-cooked and moulded meats in a waxy coating, a sausage... Blurgh.

  2. Look, it's the national vegetable.
    Nothing more to it.

  3. What an entertaining blog! And this may be your funniest post so far. :D Great to get another perspective on my own culture.

  4. Glad you enjoy it! By the way, I do like makkara also!

  5. Or as my less than impressed cousin from Berlin says: "You people wouldn't know sausage even if I'd hit you with it!"