Regional Stereotypes

These were, and to some extent still are quite strong. Because people identify strongly with their own region, they also think that everyone else (up to and including the village down the road) are drunks, useless layabouts or in general odd and incomprehensible people. Thus, these stereotypes are at the same time adapted as symbols of regional pride, and at the same time enforced by other, fellow xenophobes.

Southern/South-Western Finland:
The most developed, prosperous areas. Social differences are greater here than elsewhere, and the population is considerably more urbanized. Outsiders often think of these people, especially inhabitants of the capital city Helsinki, as impractical and fancy folks. These areas also have a lot of Swedish-speaking Finns, and most of the old noble families come from these areas.

Middle Finland (Hame, the middle of the broad part of Finland, way South of Oulu and Suomussalmi):
Also called Lake Finland, this area is full of large and small lakes. The people are called the "Hamalaiset", and according to outsiders are slow, taciturn and a bit dumb. Hamalaiset themselves think of themselves as careful, precise individuals. Hamalaiset are also known for being extremely sensitive of public opinion, and trying hard to give their neighbours no reason to spread rumours about themselves.

Ostrobothnia (North-Western Finland, but extends also to the East, up to and including Suomussalmi):
Ostrobothnia used to be a rich area, and even now, Ostrobothnians are fiercely proud of their heritage, and bear their regional stereotypes as badges of pride. The Ostrobothnian accent is very distinctive: It is more or less to Finnish what Texan is to American English. Ostrobothnians are considered by outsiders to be brawlers and rowdies, infamous for their use of knives in village fights. Ostrobothnians also have a seriously macho masculine ideal, which includes aggressiveness, physical strength and agility, and personal bravery.

Eastern Finland (Savo, also extends into the north, right up to Suomussalmi, which is kind of influenced by both Ostrobothnia and Savo):
Eastern Finland is a heavily wooded area, and Savolaiset are known as foresters, hunters and loggers, and also as settlers of wild lands… Most Canadian Finns are from Savo. Savolaiset are even more hospitable than the average Finnish peasant, and are known above all as being very talkative (at least, more than other Finns): They are also thought to lie through their teeth constantly, and that asking directions from a Savolainen is a recipe for disaster. Perhaps here, bullshitting is not stigmatized as heavily as elsewhere.

Karelia (In the extreme South-East; most of this area was lost in the Winter War):
Karelia is less wooded than the rest of pre WW2 Finland, and has been to a great degree affected by its proximity to Russia. Karelian Finns (I make a distinction here between ethnic, Greek Orthodox karelians of whom very few lived in Finland, and Finnish settlers) are known, above all, to be openly emotional, crying and laughing in turn, much like the Russians.

(yup, even more thanks to Matti)

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