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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Finland Series at FinnishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Finnish holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 10, Shrovetide. In Finnish, it’s called laskiainen.
Shrovetide is a fun celebration held in Finland seven weeks before Easter. Shrovetide includes Shrove Sunday, laskiaissunnuntai, and Shrove Tuesday, laskiaistiistai, although between the two, Shrove Tuesday is the most significant. In this lesson, we will learn all about the fun customs associated with Shrovetide.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know how women's hair is related to Shrovetide?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Shrovetide was originally celebrated to express people’s joy for the end of winter and the approach of Easter. A fast, or paasto in Finnish, was started on Shrove Tuesday, thus inspiring people to celebrate and hold a feast before it began. Fasting, however, is no longer a very common habit. Shrovetide always lands either in February or March; February 1 at the earliest and March 7 at the latest. Shrove Sunday and Shrove Tuesday are not official flag days however, and thus shops and bureaus are typically open as usual.
Nowadays, Shrovetide is seen more as a fun folk festival. In some cities, a Shrovetide event is organized, which includes sledding, or mäenlasku in Finnish, and feasting on pancakes, pea soup and Shrove buns, called laskiaispullat which are large, soft buns filled with jam and whipped cream or almond paste.
Sledding has always been a popular tradition associated with Shrovetide. In fact, sledding has even held a playful, superstitious meaning within Finnish peasant culture; the further one’s sled slides down the hill, the better and longer the flax, or pellava, would grow the next year. The tradition also incorporates an old annual rhythm; the flax yarn spinning was to be completed by Shrovetide in order to begin the weaving of fabrics, which needed the light of the spring.
In the olden days, food had to be extremely greasy during Shrovetide so as to ensure a good cattle fortune. However, the olden day Shrovetide treats such as fat pancakes and pigs' trotters, don't really entice diners much anymore.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know how women's hair is related to Shrovetide?
Women were to keep their hair down during Shrovetide and brush it often in order get beautiful, shiny flax linen from the fields. People playfully believed, that if women's hair was long, soft and shiny, the flax from the fields would correspond with it.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Which one would you put in between your Shrove bun, almond paste or whipped cream?
Leave us a comment at FinnishPod101.com, and see you again in the next class!