April 22, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 94

Laskiainen celebrated at Little Finland

HURLEY — Little Finland hosted a traditional Laskiainen, or ‘sledding day,’ luncheon of pea soup and kropsu on Sunday.

Kropsu is a Finnish pancake baked in the oven and served with jellies or syrup. Buttermilk, coffee and Finnish bread were also served. The event drew around 50 people,

For more than 30 years the event has been hailed as a pre-Lenten celebration, in February, but this year it was moved it to April, said Sonja Luoma, event organizer.

A Finnish heritage center, Little Finland also features a museum, a gift shop, walking trails and a pavilion. Each month there are different activities. On Mother’s Day, the Finnish American Festival Chorus will sing at Zion Lutheran Church in Ironwood, directed by Gale Hellier.

Cultural movies are screened a couple times a year, The gift shop, run by volunteers, is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Coffee socials are hosted on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, as well.

Seija Jarvenpaa teaches Finnish lessons on the second and fourth Monday of each month, with the beginners class starting at 4:15 p.m. The advanced class starts at 5 p.m. Jarvenpaa has been teaching these classes for more than 12 years.

Jarvenpaa is from Finland, and has lived in the U.S. since 1960. She’s offering the classes to help keep the language alive in the New World.

Despite a host of Finnish immigrants in certain American communities, English was what was taught in school, Jarvenpaa said. “Even if 95 percent of a classroom was Finnish students, it was always still English in the schools.”

Next year, Little Finland will celebrate its 50th year.