Kalsarikännit: Drinking at home in your undies, like Finns

The World
emojis of a man and a woman in their underwear having a drink.

Kalsarikännit, the Finnish tradition of getting drunk at home in your underwear, might be getting traction globally with over half of the world population under stay-at-home orders due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A celebrated tradition in the Nordic country, Kalsarikännit literally means “drinking at home, alone, in your underwear" and it is loosely translated and anglicized as "päntsdrunk."

“Everyone knows what underwear is. And everyone knows what getting drunk is. So those things combined is Kalsarikännit,” said Tuomas Koskipää, co-founder of Finland’s Fat Lizard Brewery.

To be clear, with Kalsarikännit, the party starts at home and stays at home, there is no intention of going out. 

The term “päntsdrunk” has been trending internationally on social media during these times of social distancing. But Mikael Taipale, co-founder of the Finnish beverage company Long Drink, says that while anyone, anywhere can take part in Kalsarikännit, Finns are uniquely suited for the activity because they are used to being exposed.

“Sauna culture is a huge part of Finnish culture and the proper way of doing it is fully naked,” Taipale said. “We definitely have that comfortableness of being in our underwear and just not being ashamed of it.”

Some Finns insist that underwear is the only option when going päntsdrunk. But Taipale says you can wear whatever makes you feel comfortable.

“It’s an outfit that you would never wear outside of your home. For many people, it might be in your underwear. It might be in your sweatpants,” he said.

Since relaxing at the end of a long day no longer means going out for a drink, just get as comfortable as possible for Kalsarikännit, whatever form that may take.

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