A Blog Post about Finland’s Floral Emblem, the Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley: Finland's Gorgeous but Deadly Floral Emblem

April 10, 2017

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Finland's Floral Emblem

Hello again, Naho here. If anyone asks what my favorite fictional character is, Moomin will always be the answer.

The story of the Moomins is set in Finland, a country with deep, mysterious forests that could almost bring fairy tales to life. It is said that lilies of the valley, Finland's national flower, also grow inside those forests.

Innocent and Delicate - The Finnish Lily of the Valley

Known as the country where the character Moomin is from, Finland is every bit the fairy-tale landscape we imagine from the books. Lilies of the valley, the country's floral emblem, bloom beautifully in its mountain forests, and have been a common sight in Finland for a long time. The flower has such an innocent and adorable air to it that, there seems to be a custom in France where people give lilies of the valley to brides on weddings.

The scientific name of lilies of the valley is Convallaria majalis, a species that's native to Europe. Compared to one of its variations found in Hokkaido, Japan, those grown in Europe feature larger blooms and a more accented fragrance.

Despite its lovely appearance, the lily of the valley is in fact highly poisonous. Parts of the plant such as the flowers and the stems contain large amounts of toxic substances which, if consumed, could result in possible death. Like there's no rose without a thorn, the lily of the valley is precisely the expression 'gorgeous but deadly' running true to form.

Lilies of the Valley: Symbol of Summer's Poetic Charm

In Finland, farmers' markets are held throughout the year. While most often it's fresh vegetables and fruits that are sold on the stalls, lilies of the valley are also available for purchase in the summer. Looking at the refreshing pearly flowers swinging in the breeze, one couldn't help but link lilies of the valley to the symbol of summer's poetic charm.

It's a widely acknowledged fact that lilies of the valley should be placed in well ventilated environments due to their sensitivity to humidity. No wonder the flower can be so openly sold in farmers' markets like that.

A relaxing atmosphere is often observed on farmers' markets in Finland where hand-knitted hats and other homemade accessories are sold. You can also find friendly food stalls to have a bite of freshly-cooked paella - these farmers' markets are definitely worth visiting if you plan to travel to Finland.

Finland's Language Education Gaining Worldwide Attention

Finnish is the main language spoken in Finland. However, the country is famous for its education system that places great emphasis on foreign language learning, especially English.

Children in Finland start learning English at the age of 9, and are expected to reach conversational level at 12. Progressing to secondary schools, students will then pick up their second foreign language such as German and French. Compared to Japan and other countries, language education in Finland is clearly one step ahead.

Observing the benefits of Finland's multilingual education system, an increasing number of Japanese experts have been putting efforts into introducing a similar system in Japan. Perhaps the day when people become comfortable speaking multiple languages will come soon.

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