Where I am from we have an idiom. I’ll write it in Spanish: “hasta el cuarenta de Mayo no te quites el sayo“. This translates to “until the 40th of May, don’t take the coat off”. Yes, May doesn’t have 40 days, but if you say “June 9th” it doesn’t rhyme. Anyways, in Finland – with the same spirit – they have the Takatalvi: the winter weather and temperatures that come back during the spring time.
This year, concretely, it is warmer than usual, as it is happening all around the world. Be sure, nonetheless, that there is a Takatalvi waiting for you in Finland, when the temperatures will drop again and might be more snow coming. Always happens.
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Takatalvi: the winter that comes back
Of course, is not winter per se that comes back, but the low temperatures and the snow that are the landmarks of the Finnish winter, due to the climate in the country.
Something Takatalvi, but inverted, happens as well, and is called in Finnish “intiaanikesä” – Indian summer of North America would be the translation. These are the few days in autumn when the temperatures rise above average and it is warm and sunny… before the real cold autumn comes.
Takatalvi is that moment when you feel that the spring is already here, and that the temperatures ks finally above 0 degrees Celsius in a constant manner (although less than 10, of course: we are talking about Finland in Spring)… but then suddenly it starts snowing.
In Finnish language “taka-” is a prefix that means “rear, back or posterior” and “talvi” means “winter”. The word definitely makes sense.
When does Takatalvi happen?
The Indian summer doesn’t have a fixed date, nor does the Takatalvi in Finland. It could happen in any moment of the spring, when winter already seemed to be over.
Usually, on the years where the winter lasts longer this phenomena comes quite late. The Takatalvi, usually, comes in April but in even stranger years it can snow up to May. In Joensuu I remember such thing happening in May.
And these are the characteristics of this special meteorological phenomena. If you are planning a trip to Finland or you are in the country right now and the temperatures seem benign… remember not to put away the winter clothes just yet.
Does this phenomena only happen in Finland?
No, it is also common in other countries of the Northern Hemisphere. In USA they call it Blackberry winter , as it happens at the same time blackberries grow.
Have you experienced a Takatalvi in Finland? What’s the weirdest date you’ve seen snow falling from the sky?