Christmas traditions in Finland are centered on the home and family. The sense of warmth of the family home and the merriment of the season are accentuated amidst the harsh reality of a far north winter.
Finland is the home of Santa, and every Finnish child knows that Santa lives on the Mountain of Korvatunturi in the town of Savukoski. This town is in the northern section of Finland called Lapland. There are many many reindeer in Lapland and, after all, Why wouldn’t Santa live where his reindeer are?
By Christmas Eve morning, the children are all awash with excitement for they know that Finland is the first country on the list of Santa’s stops. As a matter of fact, he stops there on Christmas Eve with gifts for every one.
Finnish families celebrate St. Lucia’s Day, as do most of the Scandinavian countries. The celebration of Christmas occurs from December 24th to the 26th. Several weeks before hand, during the advent season, homes are prepared, cookies are baked, and decorations are made ready.
The standard fare for a Christmas eve breakfast is rice pudding. Thick and Creamy, it is served hot and topped with cinnamon, sugar and other spices. What a yummy way to serve a hot meal that will warm them throughout their morning excursions. Papa and the children will go and get the tree. With a bit of shopping left to be done, Mama heads to the market early for all the stores will close at noon.
Christmas traditions in Finland have become known to over 140 countries largely because of a traditional event that has occurred every year, save one, since the mid 1300’s. In the city of Turku, in southern Finland, the people gather just before noon. After the Turku Cathedral Bell strikes twelve, the Declaration of Christmas Peace is read.
Tomorrow, God willing, is the graceful celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior; and thus is declared a peaceful Christmas time to all, by advising devotion and to behave otherwise quietly and peacefully,
because he who breaks this peace and violates the peace of Christmas by any illegal or improper behavior shall under aggravating circumstances be guilty and punished according to what the law and statutes prescribe for each and every offence separately.
Finally, a joyous Christmas feast is wished to all inhabitants of the city.
This Finnish Christmas tradition is so famous that it is broadcast over all the air waves and TV. The ceremony ends with a flourish as the trumpets play the National Anthem.
More Christmas traditions in Finland
If you have gotten a chill thinking about Christmas in the frozen country of Finland, perhaps you will warm up a bit when you hear that everyone in Finland, after a light Christmas Eve lunch, heads out to take the sauna bath. This sounds like one of the best Christmas traditions in Finland (maybe in the whole world) What a nice way to ease tensions before guests come to dinner.
Dinner, of course, is a sumptuous feast. There is ham or pork roast, casseroles with carrots and rice, or rutabaga. Several kinds of fish including herring and cod, lots of whole grain breads, prune tarts, and berry pudding. The holiday drink is glogg, which is a mulled wine.
About 5 or 6 o’clock, families go to the cemeteries to leave candles on the graves of loved ones who won’t be there to celebrate Christmas any longer. Thousands of flickering light, reflecting against the snow and trees create a memorable scene.
A bit later in the evening there is a knocking at the door, JoulupukkiSanta has arrived. unfortunately papa misses his arrival because he had to go do the evening chores. Joulupukki boldly asks,” Are there any good children in the house”.Of course there always is, and Santa never misses handing out presents. The children love to sing Joulupukki Laula or Peteir Punakuono (Rudolph) or other such songs to him, before he leaves to visit the rest of the world.
Christmas day except for morning services is strictly a say at home family day and very quiet. However, everyone visits friends and family on the 26th.
Christmas traditions in Finland Recipe:
Finnish Rice Pudding
Cook 1 1/4 cup of rice in boiling water till just tender.
Strain and add rice to 5 cup of very hot whole milk.
Boil slowly for 10 minutes and add the following mixture
1 egg well beaten
1/3 cup of cream
2/3 cup of sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp of salt
cook as a slow boil for a few more minutes
Serve hot with a dusting of cinnamon, sugar, cardamon
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