I had a friend the other day mention how excited he was to go to the lake and jump in the sauna. Except he said it Saw-naw. As someone with rich Finnish heritage, I politely corrected him and said, "You mean SOW-na." He look perplexed and then argued with me that he was saying it right. I should really learn my lesson and just let it go, but I've had this same conversation with countless people over the years.

It's not that big of a deal, but I'm not going to give up the fight. If you don't know what a sauna (sow-na) is, it's basically a small room where you experience heat sessions. It's traditionally built with cedar wood, giving it a wonderful smell. There are different ways to heat the sauna (sow-na). The way I know from my childhood is a wood stove and a pile of hot rocks in a bucket. We'd pour water over it to get some steam and soak in the heat. Back home on the Iron Range, both sides of my family had sauna's in the basement. How else do you warm up on those -40F days in the middle of February? Anyway, my point with this is the fact that my family has a rich heritage of using saunas and we know how to say it.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

Saunas were first invented in Finland and the first versions can date back to following the ice age. The modern style, according to Central Finland Sauna, come from the 18th century. They've since spread across the world, and it's the only Finnish word that hasn't been translated into other languages. Hence, the issue with pronunciation. SOW-NA, once again is the correct way to say it. Don't google "how to pronounce Sauna" and take google's word for it. They are wrong too. Here's one I found that actually says it right.

Yes, it's not a big deal. It's just one of those things that I will never let go. Spread the word. SOWNA!