Today is a special day known as the last day of the carnival season. Mardi gras is in Finnish laskiainen. The name may come from the Latin "carne lasciare", farewell to meat at the beginning of the Lent. Our Lutheran church doesn't require fasting before Easter, but we still enjoy fat food on this day. The traditional meal is thick pea soup with fat smoked pork in it; and as a dessert or afternoon coffee treat we have a sweet wheat bun filled with whipped cream and almond paste or strawberry jam. When I was a child, the buns were served on a deep plate with hot milk, which I found most awful.
An old agricultural tradition has remained, too, because it means lots of fun. It is sledging down the hill. This was supposed to make the flax grow tall, and make the harvest good in many ways. The longer the slide, the taller the flax.
These pictures show big and small children having fun this morning, sliding downhill on binliners or plastic sledges.
It was heartwarming to hear the merry laughter and shouts of the kids of different ages. I remember from my own childhood the feel of the bumps on the slope, falling off the sledge and getting snow in my neck and wrists, and climbing uphill again and again. Rosy cheeks, and moist hair clinging to the forehead, fingers and toes pricking with the cold. Oh happy times!
My sister P who was a student at the time, went with her friends in a bigger slope later in the evening, and afterwards there was a dance where everyone went in their sporty clothes. I can imagine there was romance in the air, too, when young adults were playing like kids in the dark winter evening.