Today Finnish men are allowed to say “ihanaa!”

On the day when Finland goes crazy over ice-hockey, grown men proclaim they are proud to cry. OK, grown men cry over football in the UK so what’s to comment on?

Well, in this land of weirder than weird gender politics, things have gone really weird. I think I have just heard what I NEVER thought I’d hear: Finnish men – tens of thousands of those who have gathered in the Market Square singing “Ihanaa, Leijonat Ihanaa” (lovely, Lions, lovely! I can just see the British comic type bending his knees to that one. Text doesn’t quite capture the quality of ice-hockey fans’ voices, I guess.)

The weirdness for one who only pays attention to ice hockey under duress, is that male learners of Finnish are quite explicitly and regularly taught NEVER to use that word. Ihanaa is a WOMEN’s word, for goodness sake!

A guy on the tram was rejoicing down the phone on his way to Akateeminen to buy the Swedish newspapers – to gloat. Getting off he said he couldn’t understand that there were people in this city living life as if there was more to it than the crushing defeat of the Swedish team by Finland’s “Lions”. But then, he added when the older ladies laughed along with him, it was nice that for a while at least divided Finland was coming together to rejoice!

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