Finland’s national nature symbols

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Six national ‘nature symbols’ have been chosen for Finland by popular vote: the bear, swan, perch, birch, lily-of-the-valley and granite. Perhaps with the exception of the lily-of-the-valley, all the symbols carry powerful connotations of popular tradition, stretching back to ancient times. They were only officially chosen in the 1980s and ’90s, however, so one cannot claim they are based on any formal tradition. The aim in choosing the symbols is to draw attention to Finnish nature and wildlife and to promote appreciation of them. As yet, the swan has taken on the strongest symbolic value, while the birch and lily-of-the-valley are used as decorations on festive occasions. The perch has not taken on a particularly strong symbolic value, while granite is traditionally used in Finland for construction and sculpture.

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