My native Finland is voting for a president this coming Sunday. One of the most quirky newspaper articles leading to the election focused on the candidates’ favorite wool socks.
That’s right – their wool socks.
Helsingin Sanomat (HS), the largest national daily, asked all of the eight candidates to bring in their favorite pair of wool socks to be photographed (note: article in Finnish only). The socks were then arranged into a quiz for readers to try and match each candidate with their socks. And here they are:
It’s telling that no-one refused to share their favorite socks. Like sauna or certain traditional foods, wool socks are a core part of the Finnish identity. Journalist Marko Junkkari writes that wool socks are a symbol of ordinary, everyday life, which is the image the candidates aspire to portray. If one candidate were to refuse sharing their favourite socks, they might come across too cocky and pompous.
On one hand, I was left wondering how serious the article was, but on the other I do appreciate that Junkkari thought to ask and the candidates all responded. It’s not that I really need to know what kind of socks each candidate is wearing. Rather, knowing that our presidential candidates do wear wool socks and took the request seriously is a nice reminder of our unifying humanity, especially in a small country that’s partially in the Arctic.
Another reason I loved the article is that I do love wool socks! Sock knitting is still very much a living tradition in Finland. In fact, one of the candidates told HS that her mother knitted her socks, and two more said their socks were made by supporters. Another of the three female candidates said she’s favoring a loaner pair.
Oh, Finland – never change! 🙂
Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.