Some of you might be thinking while reading this article: “Isn’t the sauna a Finnish thing though?”
The sauna, as most people know it today, is rooted in the culture of Finno-Ugric peoples living around the Baltic Sea – like both the Estonians and the Finns. The tradition is mentioned in some of Estonia’s earliest written records so it stretches further back into our pre-history.
However, many different cultures around the world have similar sauna-style sweat bathing traditions once you go back far enough. Some believe it was humanity’s second innovation after figuring out how to make fire.
So the sauna belongs to our common human heritage. What makes the sauna special in our part of the world is not who invented it, but how we are preserving it and making it even more relevant in our modern age.
Our dear neighbours in Finland have certainly done more than anyone else to preserve sauna culture and help the world rediscover it. For that, they do deserve credit. Estonia’s sauna expertise, design and traditions are gaining increased notoriety around the world so we invite you to discover it. By the way, as there’s no word for ‘sauna steam’ in English, you might as well start using our word: ‘leil’.
So the sauna belongs to everyone – regardless of where you come from or where you are going, whether you choose to go naked or not, and whether you want to sweat it out in the ‘leiliruum’ with us or just listen to stories from the sauna’s waiting room – ‘eesruum’. That’s the naked truth.
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