Light Mind

Being originally from Finland, but living in Australia, I have often been asked what a Finnish sense of humour is like. If you are a Finn, you would understand just how challenging it is to explain it!

Customs and beliefs are easy to explain but a sense of humour is not.

A lot has been said about Finnish seriousness, their awkwardness, and how at ease they are with silence. However, this does not mean they don’t have a sense of humour.

Finns have a great sense of humour and a playful awareness about it.

Due to Finland’s history with Sweden, jokes about Sweden are especially popular, but what I love the most, is how they can take the Mickey out of themselves!

Sometimes it is difficult to know if you should take what Finns say at face value or as a joke. In fact, most of the time, it’s easy to think they are serious, yet a few minutes later you start to question if in fact you had just witnessed Finnish wit.

Finns know that they are a quirky and a peculiar nation. They also understand that they are somewhat eccentric, yet always ready to laugh at themselves.

A Finn will tell you outrageous stories with a straight face, giggle internally and go on until it just gets too much for anyone to believe. The key point is a straight face!

I don’t know how the Finns do it, but their facial expressions don’t give anything away.

If you watch a Finn telling a joke to another Finn, you wouldn’t know from the facial expressions of either (the deliverer or the receiver), that it was a joke, or if the other person has understood it. Yet both are “killing themselves laughing” on the inside!   

Yes, Finns are civilized, yes, they are sociable, but they have a mischievous way of showing it.

You have heard an English-speaking person say: “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach”. The Finnish equivalent is even funnier and reflects the Finnish sense of humour well.

Imagine the hostess offering seconds, when the polite answer comes (yes with a totally straight face, while rubbing their stomach): “My mouth would happily eat more, my stomach would even handle it, but it’s these weak legs that wouldn’t carry me out of here, if I had any more to eat!”

The best I know how to explain a Finnish sense of humour is to say it is dry and subtle. If British humour is dry, then Finnish humour is bone dry. Finns say they have a dry sense of humour because they have spent so much time sweating in the sauna!

Finns may be shy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a good joke!

Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö made a comment about the Finnish sense of humour during his official State Visit to Iceland this month. He said: “Finland and Iceland truly have a lot in common. We are both part of the Nordic family, but the others find our languages impossible to understand. That might be the reason why we understand each other. We share a peculiar, dark sense of humour that the others may also have difficulties in comprehending. But we have a very, very light mind. We find solace and inspiration in literature. I have been told that Iceland is the only country that beats Finland in the number of books annually published per capita”.

I like the way the president says: “We have a very, very light mind!” Let us all remember to laugh and to read every day! Let us stay light in mind, body, heart, and spirit!

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Survivor says:

    Your sense of humor always cracks me up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe it’s the Finnish sense of humour then!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hanna says:

    Well said. You really can explain things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Hanna. Explaining a sense of humour is a bit difficult. I’m glad you think I succeeded, you being a Finn and all.


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