Katriina Siivonen, a lecturer at the Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC), says Finnish celebrations are changing rapidly due to internationalization, climate change, and growing economic concerns.
According to Ms. Siivonen, the last time Finnish traditions around parties, celebrations, and social gatherings changed so much was in the 19th century. This was when industrialization and urbanization started new holiday traditions in Finland.
Now, in the 21st century, the alcohol norms around Finish celebrations are also changing, especially among younger generations. The sober curious trend is growing in the country. Contrasting previous pervasive alcohol norms around social gatherings and celebrations, now more people are choosing to go alcohol-free in these contexts.
This trend in Finland aligns with the wider sober and sober curious movement taking place across most of the western world.
Already in 2019, a study reported young people in Finland were shifting to an alcohol-free way of life. The study found that young people were actively redefining social situations and practices to be alcohol-free and more inclusive.
Primarily driven by the young generation, the sober movement is creating more inclusive and alcohol-free spaces in countries around the world that used to be soaked in a pervasive alcohol norm. The sober curious and sober positive trend is also increasing the availability and attractiveness of alcohol-free environments and choices. It is even pushing multinational alcohol industry giants to create no- and low-alcohol product lines.
Young people are trailblazing a new path. They are breaking down age-old alcohol norms in their countries and communities and they are normalizing alcohol-free environments, social gatherings and ways of living.
Meanwhile, alcohol sales and consumption in Finland have also been decreasing. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) reported a 4% reduction in 2019 followed by a 5.2% reduction in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.