Christmas Eve stands as the focal point of the holiday festivities, marking the enchanting night when Santa Claus bestows gifts upon children. Beyond the joyous unwrapping of presents, the tapestry of Christmas Eve traditions in Finland often features the sipping of glögi, a festive Christmas dinner, and the serene indulgence of a Christmas sauna. For many, the solemnity of Midnight Christmas Mass holds a place as a cherished and meaningful tradition during this special time of the year.
In Finland, the culinary customs of Christmas vary across regions, yet a few timeless dishes remain integral to this wintry banquet. For many, a centerpiece is the oven-baked ham accompanied by zesty mustard, a culinary non-negotiable. Traditional Finnish Christmas dinners also feature an array of fish dishes, solidifying their status as essential components. Vegetarian options shine with classics like beetroot salad and an assortment of oven-baked root dishes, with the rutabaga casserole standing out as a popular favorite.
Indulgence in sweet treats is a hallmark of Finnish Christmas, with prune jam tarts, spice cakes, and rice porridge holding a special place in the hearts of revelers of all ages. Another beloved tradition involves adorning gingerbread, transformed into festive decorations that often find their place hanging from the boughs of a majestic spruce tree.
One of the prevalent Christmas ornaments in Finland is the straw goat, positioned in the town square throughout Advent, attracting numerous visitors. Each evening leading up to Christmas Eve, a ritual unfolds where the straw figure is ceremoniously set ablaze, symbolizing the departure of Old Nick to his abode in Lapland (the North Pole). Following Old Nick's departure, Santa Claus makes his entrance. Finnish children believe that by being well-behaved, Santa Claus will leave a gift at the goat. In certain regions of Finland, people adorn Christmas trees with paper chains and cookies.
In different localities, Finns embellish their homes with traditional straw decorations known as 'kokonarput.' Resembling clusters of stars, these decorations can be suspended from the ceiling or placed on a table. They signify the Christmas tree and are intended to usher in good fortune for the upcoming year.
The favored gifts in Finland typically originate from Santa Claus himself! These gifts encompass a variety of items such as candy, clothing, electronics, toys, and more. However, in addition to these, children particularly cherish the idea of receiving books as presents. Numerous Finnish parents establish a tradition of reading one book together every day from December until Christmas. This not only builds excitement for the holiday but also imparts valuable lessons about the significance of Christmas to the children.
Engaging in a sauna session is a well-loved Christmas tradition in Finland. After enjoying the warmth of the sauna, it's common to take a refreshing plunge into the snow for a cool and invigorating experience!
See the Northern Lights
You may have the opportunity to witness the enchanting display of the Northern Lights illuminating the sky around Christmas. There are Christmas tours available in Finland, including snowmobile and minibus excursions, providing people with the chance to experience this mesmerizing phenomenon.
Snowshoeing in Finnish Christmas is a festive and tranquil way to explore snowy landscapes. With accessible trails, a peaceful atmosphere, and the possibility of encountering holiday-themed decorations, it offers a unique and enjoyable winter experience. Whether individually or in guided groups, snowshoeing allows you to embrace the festive spirit while immersing yourself in the beauty of Finland's winter wonderland.
Christmas in Finland is a symphony of cherished traditions, winter wonders, and heartfelt warmth. In this winter wonderland, the spirit of the season is not just celebrated; it's embraced with open hearts and a sense of community. Hyvää Joulua, may your Christmas in Finland be filled with joy and the timeless magic of the holiday season.
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