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Celebrating Sauna Day in Finland 2019

You can always bank on the Finns for PR campaigns that make you smile. The Finnish Ministry for Culture and Education is applying for Finnish sauna culture to be part of the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage list. To promote its bid, the Ministry is calling for all Finns to be in a sauna on Sauna Day on 27 July, and working with international influencers, including Lisa Snowdon, to garner universal attention.

Hang on, what on earth is intangible cultural heritage, you may well ask? Is it really a ‘thing’ or a ‘made up by a PR thing’?! The UNESCO Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage is, indeed, a very real matter; established in 2008 to better protect important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance.

Existing ‘intangibles’ proclaimed on the list include iconic national cultural treasures such as beer culture in Belgium and tango dancing in Argentina, along with the, ahem, more esoteric, including shrimp fishing on horseback in Oostduinkerke – an act we can only assume demands much skill and dexterity, so not to be sniffed at.

The Sauna Day 2019 campaign

The Finnish Ministry for Culture and Education has partnered with YLE (The Finnish public service broadcasting company) and Warner Brothers to launch a high-profile broadcast campaign, comprising a 3 x 1hr episode TV series, a 2-hr live show on 27 July 2019, 2 x 8 episode online series, and a radio series.

Lisa Snowdon is starring in one of the TV episodes, which follows her adventures around Finland, sampling the finest saunas from the sophisticated to the weirder, wilder and always wonderful.

Hosted by Finnish TV presenter, Tuija Pehkonen, Lisa visited Rajaportin Sauna – the oldest public Sauna in Finland, participated in the Sauna Heating World Championships in Laukaa (where teams compete to get the sauna to 80 degrees the fastest), and enjoyed Sauna in the Skywheel, and the Midnight sauna event at Allas Seapool.

Cool facts about Finnish saunas

  • Sauna is arguably the most important cultural activity in Finland.
  • Sauna is the most popular Finnish way to enhance physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing, cleansing and rejuvenation, which has been practiced for centuries.
  • Most business decisions and deals are made in the sauna in Finland, not in the boardroom.
  • Sauna is the place for honesty, bonding, and great social interaction, either with friends and family or with work colleagues and clients.
  • There are enough saunas in Finland to accommodate the whole nation – a population of 5.4M – at any one time.
  • Saunas are everywhere – on boats, on buses, on beaches, and in private homes including studio apartments, as well as in hotels and gyms.