Rockers Bon Jovi return for their umpteenth visit to Finland in May.

What’s on around the country this year?

WELL, once again we find ourselves staring down the start of a year. Some of us may have already watched helplessly as our New Year’s resolutions have faded from view, the snow is taunting newcomers to the country as it piles up nicely around the country and preparation of summer plans for many are in full swing.

Yep, believe it or not, the snow will eventually melt and the arrival of Vappu on a Wednesday this year signals that the end is nigh. While the warmer months are beckoning in the distance, what else lies ahead this year?

For those seeking a dash of cheese with their plans this year, be on the lookout for the 58th annual Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held across the pond in May in Malmö, Sweden.

Back on these shores, rock concerts are plentiful once again, with crusty hair metallers Bon Jovi making their umpteenth appearance on these shores with a gig in Tampere on 26 May. Meanwhile, British alt-trio Muse (27 July) bring their space rock oddities to Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium. For those in need of something more subdued then keep an eye out for the likes of Mark Knopfler on 9 June at Hartwall Areena. Also, the festival season sees many, many opportunities around the country to catch world-class acts conveniently bunched together under the same bill.

Neste Oil Rally – World Rally Championships come to Jväskylä in August.

In sports, May sees the staging of IIHF 2013 World Championships, as Helsinki shares the hosting duties with Stockholm. Proving once again that Finns can really let them fly around the corners, the Neste Oil Rally – World Rally Championships are coming once again to Jyväskylä this year between 1 and 3 August.

After a bumper year in 2012 that saw both municipal elections and presidential elections being held, politics in Finland will once again focus on plugging the eurozone crisis and whatever lude, crude and quotable comments will emerge from The Finns.

National holidays are scattered around the year, offering many an excuse to overindulge on the night before, aka the local phenomenon of aatto. Also, keep an eye out for midsummer, which falls on Friday 21 June, offering an excuse to light fires at midnight to mark the occasion of excessive amounts of daylight.

But, for the time being, the snow is with us and with it comes an excuse to try out the many and varied snow sports on offer – a novelty for many of us who may never have experienced such temperatures before. Get out there and see what you can discover!

James O’Sullivan