gallery In Finland Happy New Year means ‘Tin Time’

Alongside the fireworks at the supermarket (no this isn’t California I can finally blast fire into the sky right in front of my house legally) there are small tin horseshoes for sale. I assumed they were just for good luck like you would have at home above a doorway or on a wall, apparently here they will help me determine my life in 2013.  It was my first new years in Finland and I got to experience a new twist to my usual, semi predictable events.

New Years Eve in Finland means at 6m the locals begin the fireworks show and the city begins to sound like a small war is happening.  It also means you will have a chance to foresee your new year with a finnish tin tradition.  I assumed they were just for good luck like you would have hung at home above a doorway or on a wall, apparently here they will help me determine my life and luck in 2013.

Tampere Dec 6 2011 Finnish Independence Day
Fireworks in Finland

After a lovely dinner with friends we went to a friend’s cottage on a lake. As the clock got closer to 12 we headed to the frozen lake right outside the cottage. We began our fireworks show, which was a success! It was so much fun to be so close to the fireworks and light them on my own! Although I am a little chicken about lighting them,  and in effect not very skilled, it was so fun!  At midnight we popped a bottle of champagne and sealed 2012 with a kiss.

Fireworks were definitely the highlight but the real twist  of tradition came with the ‘tin time’ to predict the upcoming year.

Tin Time! Tin Time! Tin Time!

Step 1: Each person receives a tin cast in the shape of a horseshoe. You hold the horseshoe in the fire or over the stovetop to melt completely in the ladle. 

The tin is beginning to heat up and melt!
The tin is beginning to heat up and melt!
Holding the horseshoe in the fire is a hot tricky situation to melt the metal and not your arm!
Holding the horseshoe in the fire is a hot tricky situation to melt the metal and not your arm!

Step 2: When tin is completely melted in the ladle, throw it quickly into the bucket of cold water to harden it quickly. The shape that is cast here will determine your future so act with caution!!

After the tin has melted in the ladle, you throw it into the bucket of cold water and remove it when hard to see what shape you are left with to predict your new year!
After the tin has melted in the ladle, you throw it into the bucket of cold water and remove it when hard to see what shape you are left with to predict your new year!

Step 3: Hold up the shape or shapes that were cast when the tin hardened in the water. The shadow that is cast on the wall can be seen as anything, animal, plant, person, etc. Some shapes are much more difficult than others to determine. Different shapes have different meanings health, sickness, wealth, happiness, adventure, etc.  The more solid the tin the better the luck, the more pieces the worse.

Holding up the melted tin to find what the shadow resembles can be interesting and is most productive as a creative group activity...even more creative after past midnight involving new years drinks!
Holding up the melted tin to find what the shadow resembles can be interesting and is most productive as a creative group activity…even more creative after past midnight involving new years drinks!

After a lot of consensus and group discussion and examination we agreed on what the tin was shaped like.  We determined that Eryk’s tin looked like a wing, he had a very solid piece (pictured above). Mine however hardened in a few pieces and we decided they were a rabbit sitting up, a tree, and a heart. Which all seemed like good shapes to cast to me, the problem to me is how do I  know what those shapes mean in terms of events and luck for the following year. I enjoyed the new tradition very much and look forward to finding out what my shapes mean! Until next tin time, to a lucky 2013!! Happy New Year!!

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