The Sauna, the world famous Finnish bath, is a part of every Finnish home. To be nvited a sauna party is to meet the Finn at his most hospitable.
Finnish beer comes in light or stronger grades. Next to beer the national drink is Finnish Vodka, drunk as Schnapps and like the Finnish berry liquers Mesimarja (Arctic bramble) and Lakka (Cloudberry) is usually served ice cold with meals. Scotch and American whiskies are available. Restaurants (mostly licensed) and bars open until 1 am or 2 am; night clubs open until 4 am.
The Finnish sauna is a substantial part of Finnish culture. There are five million inhabitants and over three million saunas in Finland – an average of one per household. For Finnish people the sauna is a place to relax with friends and family, and a place for physical and mental relaxation as well. Finns think of saunas not as a luxury, but as a necessity. Before the rise of public health care and nursery facilities, almost all Finnish mothers gave birth in saunas.
Many different types of sauna can be found in Finland. They can be classified either by the sauna building itself or by what kind of stove it uses.
The main division of saunas is between once warmed and continuously warmed stoves. All smoke saunas are once warmed, but there are also other type of ovens that are once warmed.
Once warmed stoves have larger amount of stones that are warmed up before the bathing. This can be done by burning wood, with or without chimney, oil or natural gas. Continuously warmed stoves have lower amount of stones that are heated during the bathing. The warming can be done burning wood, oil or natural gas, or electrically.
The temperature in Finnish saunas is 60 to 100 °C (140 to 212 °F), usually 70–80 °C (158–176 °F), and is kept clearly above the dewpoint despite the vaporization of löyly water, so that visible condensation of steam does not occur as in a Turkish sauna.