Jenny and I are just back from a week in Finland, where we gave a well-received two day Host Leadership workshop in Helsinki. I had an email afterwards from Marike Tammeaid, who gave me the traditional Finnish greeting song for when a guest arrives. It’s from the Finnish national epic poem Kalevala. Finland is known as one of the very few ‘silent’ cultures in Europe, where people are happy to keep their own company most of the time. In this context, having a guest around is even more important than it is in other cultures.
Let the door’s lintels rise
with the guest not taking hat off
let the door’s thresholds lower
without the boot heels them touching
Let the door frame give him way
Open the door without touching
when the guest shall step inside,
when the big man pays us visit.
We don’t meet each other often
rarely we see each other
In the wide fields of Väinölä
forestlands of Kalevala.
So be welcome to my house
you, the great guest of mine
to brighten our celebration
to honor the day’s passing.
(You can read the original Finnish words here.)