Discovering Finnish Mindscape Through the Moomins
I must confess that before my first trip to Finland, I wasn’t too familiar with the cult-status of the Moomin characters from a series of books and comics by Finnish-Swedish writer and artist Tove Jansson.
Between 1945 and 1977, Tove introduced Finland (and soon the rest of the world) to a family of white, round fairy tale characters looking a bit like hippopotamuses. Moominpappa, Moominmamma, and Moomintroll live an adventurous life with each other and their friends in the idyllic and peaceful Moominvalley in harmony with nature. It was clear that these tales weren’t just meant as children’s stories, but set out an entire philosophy for life.
Moomin Life Lessons
Tove has said in interviews that some of the characters related strongly to her own family. They were a bunch of bohemian people living close to nature and they were very tolerant towards diversity, which is all that the Moomins are about.
The first two books were published in 1945 and 1946 and deal with natural disasters, inspired by the upheavals of war, and Tove’s own depression during those war years.
Some of the life lessons that the Moomins shared with us are:
Always Welcome Visitors
“Moomintroll’s mother and father always welcomed all their friends in the same quiet way, just adding another bed and putting another leaf in the dining-room table. And so Moominhouse was rather full — a place where everyone did what they liked and seldom worried about to-morrow.”
Our World is Wonderful
“It’d be awful if the world exploded, it’s so wonderfully splendid.”
The Night is Not Scary
“I like stars more than anything else. I watch them as I fall asleep and wonder who lives on them and how to get there. The night sky looks so friendly with all those little twinkling eyes.“
Storytelling is Important
“A theatre is the most important sort of house in the world, because that’s where people are shown what they could be if they wanted, and what they’d like to be if they dared to and what they really are.“
Live in the Present Moment
“Walking had been easy, because his knapsack was nearly empty and he had no worries on his mind. He felt happy about the wood and the weather, and himself. Tomorrow and yesterday were both at a distance, and just at present the sun was shining brightly between the birches, and the air was cool and soft.“
People Over Possessions
“But that’s how it is when you start wanting to have things. Now, I just look at them, and when I go away I carry them in my head. Then my hands are always free, because I don’t have to carry a suitcase.“
Introducing Finnish Mindscape
Mid 2017, Finnish airline Finnair introduced a new concept for family travel, which showcases the popular Moomins in various phases travel.
There are special Moomin check-in counters and children’s security control, a Moomin-themed magic ticket, luggage tags and giveaways onboard the aircraft. Of course, you can also find the Moomin animations in the on-board entertainment. If you travel with an infant, you will get a special Moomin towel as a gift. The towels feature members of the Moomin Family, each introducing a part of the ‘Finnish Mindscape’:
Frankness – It is not inappropriate to say things as you see them. It can often be considerate, or even polite!
Shyness – Shyness is a great strength. It allows you to use your senses and intuition. A shy person is often more present in the moment than one who never keeps quiet.
Tolerance – A machine makes copies, nature does not. What may seem unusual to some people may be as normal for Finns as breathing ice-cold air.
Someone said that the more the world resembles the Moomin valley, the better it is to live in. Do you agree?