Talkoot: first in an occasional series of Finnish words that don’t translate

Kuva006Talkoot is another great Finnish idea. You get your friends and neighbours to come together to carry out some task either for the good of the community or for just for your own benefit. There are, in English,  the related concepts of Barn Raising (which will be familiar if you know the film, Witness with Harrison Ford) or, apparently, “bee”. In Latin America, there is something similar called a Minga. But the fact that such a custom survives in this country in the face of the pressures of market capitalism is testimony to the strength of the social fabric. No surprise then that Finland shows up the world’s most prosperous nation, according to an index which takes a broader definition of wealth, including health, freedom and security.

So today I find myself participating in the sociable and rather agreeable task of raking up the leaves in my friends’  garden along with half a dozen others. It’s a beautiful, cloudless day and we finish the job in less than an hour or so.

And then we got to sit down to a delicious meal of salmon baked with blue cheese, ratatouille and potatoes, drink wine and talk about Nietzsche, Twitter and the End of the World.  Today, on balance, I think that I’m against it.

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One response to “Talkoot: first in an occasional series of Finnish words that don’t translate

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