Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. The most widely spoken is Finnish, being used by more than 90% of the total population. Swedish is used as a native language in the Archipelago area and the Western Coast areas of the country and represents approximately 6 % of the population. The Sami Language is spoken in the extreme north and in Finnish Lapland by approximately 30,000 people.
Finnish society encourages equality and liberalization, with popular commitment to the welfare state. Everyman’s Right is also a philosophy carried over from Ancient Times, giving citizens the right of access to public and private Lands, for agrarian and leisure activities. This is a right that Finnish citizens treasure and utilize fully, venturing into forests and taking advantage of the abundance of berries and mushrooms that nature offers.
The usual Christian festivities, for example Christmas (Joulu) and Easter are celebrated, though these tend to be low key family celebrations. However, there are other more lively traditional festivities celebrated by the population:
Juhannus is the celebration of Midsummer, when young and old Finns party and light bonfires at midnight to celebrate the long daylight hours after the darkness of winter.
New Year’s Eve again sees the population take to the streets to celebrate and let off fireworks to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one.
Vappu is the most important celebration for students. It takes place on May 1st, whilst it traditionally welcomes the season of spring and is the date that workers of the world rally around, students use the date to celebrate the receipt of their exam results and the end of the educational year. Celebrations start on Vappu eve with Student parades followed by much partying. Those celebrations are not restricted to current students but past students also join in the festivities and relive a very enjoyable and memorable time of their life.