I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and wonderful 2014. The Finns says "Hyvää uutta voutta"! New Year's Eve is a bit different from Christmas in Finland. Seems that Christmas is a very peaceful family Holiday where no one appears to run around to multiple gathering, but stays local with the family. I was told that on New Year's Eve in Finland, from the time the sun goes down till midnight, fireworks become legal. Since moving to Finland we have practiced a family tradition where we light off fireworks from our front yard. There are no legal problems doing this and police do not interfere on this night. We light actual rockets, streamers and ground sparklers. The kids are always excited for this and it reminds me of my childhood back in the States when we had fireworks on the 4th of July celebration. However, I think in most places in the States, the use of fireworks is not always permitted, maybe just restricted to certain areas and types of fireworks. It is interesting how many families in the small neighborhoods in Finland take part in the New Year's fireworks. I think the cacophony from the fireworks last year began around 8pm and didn't let up till past midnight in our little neighborhood in Espoo. This seems to be the general theme around the country.
There is still a distinct lack of snow on the ground here in Southern Finland and also no signs of the first major snow storm. Most people have expected the snow to fall by this time of year; however it just hasn't been cold enough. The last week or so we have had about 5C (41F). The snow is actually welcomed this time of year since it brightens up things nicely in the dark and allows for snow activities. The days are still very short now and will be until early February when it starts to get noticeably lighter with each day. The sun rises about 9:15am now and sets at 3:22pm. However short and dark the days might be at this moment, staying positive and knowing that it will eventually change helps one get through the dark, dog days of winter in Finland.
As another year races by I have much to be thankful for and reflect on. 2013 was another busy year filled with fun, work, adventure, traveling and learning. Our family hasn't let go of the travel bug as we plan on visiting several more countries in Europe this coming year, 2014. Whether you live in Finland, The United States or any other place in the world, I appreciate the fact that you stopped by my blog and I hope you find some of my previous posts interesting. As always, I appreciate comments on my page and look forward to hearing your thoughts.