"Then and Now" /A celebration in the Finnish /American Perspective/ "Ennen ja Nyt"/
The First PROGRAM 2010  

TALVI, LUMI, JÄÄ or Winter, Snow, and Ice

Another FHM Educational Program February, 2010

An FHM Presentation by Vivian Heikkinen

The February FHM program presented by Vivian Heikkinen certainly reminded us that winter's cold can present some challenges, but also great fun.

A native Ohioan from Peninsula, she has had a lifetime’s experience with those elements of weather:  Winter, Snow, and Ice.  It all began with her uphill mile daily walk to school in every kind of weather.

Knitting together local FHM members’ winter childhood sports memories,  she began her presentation with the Hancock, Michigan winter fun of the Heikkin Päiväancock, Michigan winter fun of the Heikkin Paiva Festival held on the last Saturday in January. It commemorates Bishop Henrik of the twelfth century, who brought the Christian gospel to Finland. It also honors the Finnish name day, Heikki, and is observed with parades and fun activities. In winter, Finland’s children learn to ski early.  Although skiing to school, the children still spend recess time on their skis.  The use of the potkukelkka  (kick sled) ,Ice hole fishing and swimming in outdoor pools are part of winter’s fun.  The whipsled , known as napakelkka , höijäkkä or hullunhevonen provides much excitement.

Finland of course, provides the world with their ice breakers.  Finnish seaports need to be kept open during the cold winters.  These ships must have strengthened hulls and powerful engines to crush and move the ice.  Some of these icebreakers find their way to the Cleveland, Fairport Harbor area.

Vivian illustrated her program with slides presented by Lasse Hiltunen,  which showed  all of the snow, ice and cold scenes including the famous snow castles of Laino and Kemi, Finland.  Tourists can go there for winter breaks, weddings, etc..  Beds made of ice are provided, with reindeer hides providing insulation.  A snow castle is also found in Eagle River, Wisconsin, begun in 1924.   Temperatures are at -2 to -5 C.

Refreshments were served by Kathy Nurminen and Barbara Ollila.  Featured was a Valentine's Day sheet cake  which said "Hauska Ystävänpäivä" which translated means Happy or Merry Friend's Day. 

Story by Elaine Lillback, © Finnish Heritage Museum, 2010. 

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