Once winter rolls around, Finland is ripe with the Christmas spirit.
This country is rich in their holiday traditions, even going so far as to say that Santa Claus needn’t travel far to deliver presents to the good boys and girls.
According to the Finnish, Father Christmas lives nearby, just north of the Arctic Circle. This is a belief shared by children all over the world.
Every year around Christmas, people from all walks of life send letters to Santa in Finland.
A Christmas Season
Christmas in Finland is more than a single day celebration — it starts at the beginning of December and continues until 13 days after Christmas Day.
This essentially makes Christmas in Finland more of a season than a simple holiday.
On the first Sunday in December, the magic begins. The Finns pull out their advent calendars in anticipation.
Advent calendars are calendars with dates covered by flaps, used to count down the days until Christmas Day.
Some are simple paper calendars whereas others are far more elaborate. Basic calendars are usually marked off or the paper flap is torn off.
Others, like wooden calendars, often feature individual holes to place goodies and candies to enjoy each day of the countdown.
Saint Lucia Day
One of the very first formal celebrations is on December 13, which is Saint Lucia Day. Nearly all of Finland participates in this event.
Typically, the oldest female in a family will take on the imaginary role of St. Lucia, a woman from the third century who helped Christmas in hiding.
The child will don a white robe ensemble, put on a crown, and serve her family with food and drink. Once these celebrations are over, families typically start their holiday shopping.
On the night before Christmas Eve, families will go out and buy their Christmas tree from the town square.
It’s a tradition to bargain with the seller. This is also when families begin cleaning their homes before the three holy days.
Christmas Eve is a beautiful, bright, and Festive time in Finland. It’s a magical place in the month of December and the scene is reminiscent of what we see in Christmas movies.
People are out caroling, colorful lights illuminate the streets, music resonates throughout villages, people are happy and upbeat, and wherever you go, people will wish you a merry Christmas.
Christmas is such an important event in Finland that they even have a Christmas themed amusement park. It’s a popular tourist attraction and is loved by all who visit.
Christmas Feast in Finland
Around lunch-time on Christmas Eve, the Finns enjoy plum fruit juice and make porridge, complete with a single almond.
Whoever gets the almond in their bowl of porridge must sing a song. Finding the almond is considered extremely lucky. It’s similar to the “wishbone” tradition on Thanksgiving in the United States.
This is also the day that families begin decorating their Christmas tree. In the evening, families gather ’round for a large feast.
This feast typically includes traditional Nordic foods including ham, rutabaga casserole, beetroot, salads, and buns.
Santa might even visit the house on Christmas Eve! He brings his large bag, asks if the children have been well behaved, and then gives the children presents which they open in front of their families.
Christmas Day in Finland
Families do whatever they can to be at home with their families on Christmas Day. Even fisherman, who spend much of their time at sea, will dock their boats on Saint Thomas’ Day and head home for the holidays.
On the morning of Christmas, families wake up and enjoy their gifts and festivities.
For religious families, the day usually begins with Mass or visiting a sauna. Some families take time to visit their late loved ones at cemeteries.
The ‘peace of Christmas’ is played throughout south Finland.
Even animals are included in the Christmas celebration! Farmers will hang wheat for the birds. Different kinds of nuts are hung from branches for the animals to enjoy.
After Christmas Day has ended, families retire to their beds — but Christmas isn’t over.
The festivities will continue for a full 13 days after Christmas. People will continue to wish one another a “Hyvää joulua” (“Merry Christmas” in Finnish) or “Buorit Juovllat” (“Merry Christmas” in North-Sami, which is another language used in the area).
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Main Points About Christmas in Finland
- Christmas in Finland is a time to take it slow, bask in the coziness of the season and enjoy the presence and the bond of loved ones.
- The family home is usually the chosen spot to celebrate the festivity with the family.
- The Christmas land theme park (where Santa Claus lives) is often a point of tourist attraction.
- Before the three holy days of the Christmas season; Christmas eve, Christmas day and Boxing day, families often clean up their houses in preparation.
- In Finland, animals often get their own Christmas; farmers and animal owners leave extra food for their animals and for stray ones too.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Christmas in Finland
Many people believe that Santa lives in Finnish Lappland in the north of Finland and there’s even a Santa Village to visit.
Santa might be referred to as Joulupukki in Finland, meaning ”Christmas Goat” as there used to be a scary goat called a Yule Goat who’d ask for presents, but wouldn’t give you any!
With time he became a giver instead and while Santa took over his job, the name remained.
Word Cloud for Christmas in Finland
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Finland. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.