Here are some phrases that you might need in a sauna:
- Onko sauna jo lämmin? - Is the sauna warm already?
- Täällä on tilaa. - There's space in here. (A larger area, for example the whole top bench.)
- Tässä on tilaa. - There's space in here. (A smaller area, perhaps enough for just one person right next to you.)
- Voinko mä heittää lisää löylyä? - Can I throw more water on the rocks?
- Voisitko tuoda lisää vettä? - Could you bring more water?
- Onpa kuuma! - Man, it's hot!
- Nyt riittää! - Now it's enough!
- Minä käyn suihkussa. - I'll take a shower.
- Minä käyn avannossa. - I'll take a dip in the hole in the ice.
- Minä menen uimaan. - I'll go to swim.
- Voisitko pestä mun selän? - Could you wash my back?
Nowadays the new apartment buildings seem to have individual saunas instead of a common one in the basement or in the attic. That's kind of shame in my opinion, because having a sauna together is a fun way of getting to know your (same sex) neighbours, and not everyone takes a sauna every day anyway, so it's not very friendly to nature to have so many tiny saunas. Usually the saunas in the apartments are for 2-4 persons. The space is also handy for drying the laundry or letting pulla dough rise.
If you are ever in Helsinki, you might want to visit Kotiharjun sauna. In Tampere, Rajaportin sauna is the oldest public sauna in Finland.
There are a couple of sayings about sauna:
- Saunassa ei saa puhua uskonnosta, seksistä eikä politiikasta. - You should not talk about religion, sex or politics in the sauna.
- Suomalainen nainen on kauneimmillaan 17-vuotiaana kaksi tuntia saunan jälkeen, puhtaana ja punaposkisena. - A Finnish woman is the most beautiful at 17, two hours after sauna, clean and red-cheeked.
A lot of house parties and parties with sports teams, choirs etc. include a sauna activity at some point of the evening. In those cases, there is often someone who suggests sekasauna, a mixed sauna. Just letting you know. Another thing that might surprise you is the fact that in swimming halls, it's totally ok for small children to go to the opposite sex shower room and saunas with their parents. I think the natural age limit for that is 6 or 7, when the kids go to school.
Finally, here's a tragic video about the Sauna World Championships, with subtitles.