Thank you for my lovely blog friend Heather to have an invite to tell about Finnish Christmas here is her awesome blog.
I am a 34-year-old Finn. I lived and worked for over 9 years in England where I met my English husband. We moved to Finland almost two years ago where we currently live with our 5-year and 8-month old little ones plus our two dogs. I write blog ” I am Mama D”. Lot of my posts are only in Finnish but you find the earlier ones in English as also the newer ones.
In Finland, Christmas Eve is the main day for celebration. Iif you have real tree it is not often brought in to be decorated until the morning of Christmas eve. Compared to many English (as that is what I am used to now days) the Finnish Christmas decoration still follows the old traditions and is fairly plain. Very traditional is a Christmas goat made of straws. I am so accustomed to English Christmas that our house looks like Santa’s grotto from end of November onward but still we have some of the Finnish decorations also on display.
Sauna is must part of Finnish Christmas. I like to preserve in in the freezer a thing bath whisk that is made from birch in the summer, which I take out at Christmas. Yes, we Finns like to beat ourselves (literally) and our loved ones with small wood branches – it stimulates the circulation of the skin and I love how you get the fresh summer scent even in the middle of the winter.
The Finns (and many other countries) believe that Father Christmas lives in Lapland, in place called Korvatunturi to be exact. Father Christmas is a major part of Finnish Lapland’s tourism especially in the wintertime when plane loads of people around world come to visit him. He has a Father Christmas village for visitors around 100 miles south from where he is thought to live with his elves. I myself live 200 miles south from Korvatunturi. Finnish Father Christmas’ reindeers do not fly but somehow they manage to cover the world by sleigh on the ground and of course Christmas magic *wink*.
Father Christmas usually comes to visit in the evening of Christmas Eve. That is also a big business as many families hire someone to bring the presents in Father Christmas outfit. In many families is also a tradition to visit the graves of loved ones usually on Christmas eve or sometimes Christmas day. Candles are usually lit there.
Christmas eve morning in many families a rice porridge is served. It usually has one almond in it and the one getting it will have good luck. The typical Finnish Christmas meal consist of ham, potatoes and oven baked dishes of pureed swede and carrot. Swede one has usually golden syrup in it and carrot one often some rice. Odd sounding ones but very testy. Food is eaten all through the evening and long in to the night.
Christmas day and Boxing day in Finland are just quiet days when everything is still shut. Good to have days when you are almost forced to relax, spend time with family and visit relatives!
I actually have spend only 1 Christmas in Finland in the last 11 years. I lived in England for almost a decade where I got to know the British Christmas traditions. Our Christmas is a mixture of both Finnish and English Christmas.
In our family we celebrate first Christmas Eve Finnish way with bit fancier meal (beef as my husband does not eat ham) and we also open few presents then. The proper celebration in English style is. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, different vegetables etc. Sound quite similar to Christmas table in many homes in U.S? We’ll see when our children grow older, are they going to start to demand to have all of theirs presents on Christmas Eve as all the other children in Finland do…so far we stick to the 25th. 🙂
Wishing you lovely and blessed Christmas time!
Love, Mama D