Bear in the covered market, Helsinki, Finland, Photo by Lifecruiser

I think we all have heard of the myth of wild bears & reindeer’s running around in the streets in Helsinki, Finland – as well as we’ve heard it for the other Nordic countries capitals.

Though this was a Brown bear (Ursus arctos) we spotted there Thursday when exploring Helsinki and not a Polar bear.

Did you know that the Brown bear (karhu) is Finlands national animal? Well, now you do.

The bear was considered the most sacred of animals and a killing of a bear was followed by a great feast in honor of the bear (peijaiset), where a substantial part of the celebrations consisted of convincing the bear’s spirit that it had died accidentally and hadn’t been murdered.

Afterwards, the bear’s skull was hung high upon a pine tree so its spirit could re-enter the heavens. Kalevala on bear (old Finnish sacred text of “Otso the honey-eater” translated to English)

Source: Wikipedia

So, was it really true, were there any bears & reindeer’s running around in the streets of Helsinki…?

Well, as you can see we did succeed to take photos of both a bear & a reindeer, even though they weren’t particularly wild since they were stuffed animals…. *giggles*

Reindeer in the street, Helsinki, Finland, Photo by Lifecruiser

Though I must admit, it would definitely have spiced up our stay there if we had seen any wild ones!

The only wild ones we did see were the people partying on the cruise ship… No bears, but a lot of beers… *giggles*

Stay tuned for more about our cruise from Stockholm, Sweden to Helsinki, Finland.

Lifecruiser Wild animals

12 Comments on “Bears & Reindeers in Helsinki?”

    Maribeth said:

    I’m off to the puppy room. I think Anneliese will have her babies soon!

    Ling said:

    That is one mean-looking bear, even if he is stuffed. Did you try to put your hand in his mouth? I’ve always wanted to do that. :mrgreen:

    GP said:

    gives new meanng to “lions and tigers and be(a)ers of my” :)

    happy trails

    claudie said:

    :grin: At the airport of Helsinki I saw many bears’sculptors on Anaïs’ pictures!! Bears and reindeer begin to be my friends! and I hear a lot about finnish beer during the weekend! :eek:
    When I think introduction and protect of several bears is a cause of discord in Pyrénées in France when bears are walking in North Finnish forests and loved! :smile:


    You guys lead such a great life. It’s funny. Where my parents live in New Jersey, USA of all places, not the most wildlife type nation. Their biggest problem is the overpopulation of black bears. Seriously.
    When we visited last summer we saw a mama black bear with FIVE CUBS!!! just walking around the streets of their development like it’s her home. the main problem with that, is they are sooooo cute. But forgetaboutit, if you come between a mama and her cub, STAY BACK!

    A. said:

    Ah! I was just about to comment about how close you were to the animals. Stuffed! :)

    MSSecretary said:

    I have to say, that bear looks exactly like my dog! A little less friendly, perhaps, but just as interested in food. :)

    Enjoy your trip, Finland is a place I will likely never get to.

    Gattina said:

    Apparently you are still alive on the cruise ship and enjoying ! This bear mouth (not beer mounth) looks terrific !

    Puss in Boots said:

    Well, I don’t think I’d like to come across bears or reindeers if I was strolling around. Too scary…they’re bigger than me!

    Toni said:

    i have a friend who were just in finland and i think he saw some animals :D but also not wild ones but just the ones in the zoo.. he said it was relatively warm the last few days there about 15 C which of course was really warm that time of the year there – his finnish friends said.


    Wow! what a lovely co-incidence!! I was invited by the Swedish Embassy in Singapore to a movie preview of Wolf, a movie on the Sami, the indigenous people of northern Sweden.

    I marvelled at the hundreds of reindeer that these people breed. :P

    Part of Encore! The European Season in Singapore,
    EUFF aims to foster greater cultural exchange between Europe and Singapore, offering Singaporeans the opportunity to watch some of Europe’s most acclaimed films, which few outside Europe would have had the chance to watch.

    Varg (Wolf) is a lovely Swedish film. I enjoyed it very much. It is so lovely to see a part of your country and learn more about your culture and traditions.

    RennyBA said:

    Thanks for sharing the role as a myth buster about the polar beer in the streets of the Nordic countries. The only time I’ve seen a real one was when I was at Svalbard.

    I saw plenty of wild Reindeer when in Kirkenes, up north in Norway however and they are majesty beautiful. But you know that story already (thanks for the visit and comment!).

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