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Only in a country like Finland will you ever come across such a national tradition as Tipaton Tammikuu. It literally translates as 'Dropless January' (or, if you like, 'dry January') and that is the idea: to use the month of January to detoxify yourself, and as a break period from alcohol consumption following Christmas and New Years' binges.

As traditions go, this one is fairly recent. It began as a campaign led by the 'Propaganda Brothers in Arms Association' ('Propaganda- Aseveljet-järjestö') in 1942- because clearly somebody needed to step in and do something about Finland's national drinking problem.

Depending on what your sources are, anywhere between 13-25% of Finns observe Tipaton Tammikuu. Any more, I suppose, and the country would end up going broke (see: 'Alko'). In any case, it's given alcoholics and casual drinkers alike a yearly chance to exorcise themselves, and re- evaluate their relationship to alcohol. It also brings with it horrific side effects- as is the nature of the cold turkey road to sobriety, you'll get a lot worse before you start getting better. By the time you've started sleeping regularly again, of course, February will have raised its clear-eyed head, fresh and ready to stagger along the next eleven months.

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