house resolution no.186

Rep. Markkanen offered the following resolution:

A resolution to declare February 18-24, 2024, as Sauna Week in the state of Michigan.

Whereas, Finnish immigrants introduced the sauna, a centuries-old traditional heat-and steam method of bathing, to North America in 1638 when they arrived at New Sweden, a colony in what is now Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; and

Whereas, Those Finns also introduced the log cabin to their new land in the form of the sauna, often the first structure built by settlers. The buildings, made with hand-hewn logs and double dovetail joints, served as both shelter and place for the centuries-old Finnish bathing method; and

Whereas, Pioneers across this great country adapted the sturdy Finnish log structure for their housing as they moved westward, with some seven United States presidents being born in log cabins; and

Whereas, Sauna is an important part of Finnish American culture and practice, with many generations enjoying traditional saunas for cleansing and as a source of relaxation and socializing; and,

Whereas, Michigan received more Finnish immigrants than any other state, and has six counties in the western Upper Peninsula where Finns make up the largest ethnic group, and

Whereas, Interest in authentic Finnish saunas has grown in the U.S., particularly since the Covid pandemic, with a demonstrable increase in construction of new public and at-home saunas frequented by a broader population beyond the Finnish American community; and,

Whereas, Hancock, Michigan is the home of the Finnish American Heritage Center, which includes the national archive of Finnish Americans, and

Whereas, The importance of sauna achieved international attention when “sauna culture in Finland” was added to the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage; and,

Whereas, Medical experts, including a Mayo Clinic Proceedings review, cite regular sauna bathing as having beneficial effects on blood pressure, cardiometabolic biomarkers, arterial compliance and cardiovascular function, as well as feelings of relaxation and well-being related to increased production of endorphins; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, That the members of this legislative body declare February 18-24, 2024, as Sauna Week in the state of Michigan. We invite all residents to participate in


Sauna Week and enjoy the benefits of authentic sauna use.