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'
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.