Christmas in Finland, as in the rest of the world, is a time to enjoy family, friends and loved ones. The Finnish people have a long tradition of celebrating Christmas and it comes as no surprise, as even Santa Claus himself lives in Rovaniemi, Lapland.
Christmas in Finland is a special time. It is a time for family and friends to get together. The country is covered in snow and people are full of Christmas cheer. On Christmas Eve, the family gathers to celebrate a traditional meal and exchange gifts.
In this article we will tell you how the Finns celebrate Christmas, what their customs and traditions are, and what their most important celebrations are, as they begin long before 25 December.
When does the Christmas season start in Finland?
Although Christmas decorations start to arrive on the streets of Finland during the last days of November, the Christmas season actually kicks off with Pikkujoulu or “Little Christmas”, a traditional Finnish holiday celebrated in anticipation of Christmas.
This Christmas-themed party is celebrated by families but also by groups of all kinds, including associations, schools, companies and friends who come together to celebrate Pikkujoulu. During the party, Christmas dishes are served and glögi, a traditional Christmas drink, is drunk.
Another important date in the celebration of Christmas in Finland is 13 December, St. Lucia’s Day. This holiday, which originated in Sweden, celebrates the fact that the hours of daylight during the day begin to increase, leaving behind the dark days of October and November. Although the festival is celebrated all over the country, Helsinki’s St Lucia Festival is the most popular.
As mentioned above, Christmas is a very important holiday in Finland. One of the most important traditions is the exchange of Christmas presents between friends and family on Christmas Eve, 24 December. Another important tradition is the decoration of the Christmas tree. The tree is usually decorated with lights and other festive decorations, which are put up in the days leading up to Christmas Day.
The Christmas tree plays a very important role during the festive season. It is an essential Christmas decoration in every Finnish home. Families often gather on one day to decorate the tree together with lights and other objects hanging from it. Outdoors, many municipalities also place a large Christmas tree in the main square of the town.
In addition, other common Finnish Christmas traditions include attending Christmas Eve mass in church, eating rice porridge for breakfast on Christmas Day and visiting friends and family.
How do Finns celebrate Christmas?
Finns love to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, and Christmas is no exception. Many Finns choose to go away to a cottage or cabin in the forest to spend the Christmas holidays with their family.
This allows them to spend time with their loved ones while enjoying the tranquillity of the snowy forests and watching the Northern Lights. They also do some outdoor activities, such as ice fishing or cross-country skiing.
Finns who stay in the cities can also enjoy many activities with their family and friends. The main streets of all towns and cities are decorated with Christmas lights and decorations. Shops also get ready for the occasion and welcome all their Christmas shopping customers with special decorations.
Christmas markets in Finland
Christmas markets are a must-see in Finland. There are many markets scattered throughout the country, each with its own unique atmosphere. You can find everything from traditional Finnish products to handicrafts and Christmas decorations. And, of course, there is plenty of food and drink to enjoy.
One of the best things about Finland’s Christmas markets is that they really capture the festive spirit of the season. It’s the perfect place to find gifts for loved ones, and to enjoy some traditional Finnish Christmas treats. If you visit Finland during the Christmas season, be sure to visit a Christmas market.
Christmas Eve in Finland
Christmas Eve is one of the most important days of the year in Finland. Families gather and enjoy a festive meal, which usually includes baked ham, baked potatoes and a variety of cakes. After dinner, many people attend church services. Once church is over, it is time to open presents. Joulupukki, the Finnish Santa Claus, is said to give presents to good children on Christmas Eve, so children often leave their shoes outside overnight in the hope that Santa Claus will fill them with toys and goodies.
In the evening, it is customary to visit friends and neighbours. It is a time to catch up, exchange gifts and enjoy each other’s company. As midnight approaches, many people go out to watch fireworks being launched to welcome Christmas Day. It is said that if you see a reindeer in the sky on Christmas Eve, it means that Santa Claus is on his way.
On Christmas Day, families gather again to enjoy a delicious Christmas lunch, and spend the afternoon and evening relaxing, chatting and playing games. It is therefore a time to relax, spend time with family and friends and enjoy the festivities.
Typical Christmas dishes in Finland
The main Christmas dishes in Finland are lanttulaatikko (a stew made with swede), karjalanpaisti (a meat and potato stew), riisipuuro (rice pudding) and tippaleipä (a fried doughnut-like pastry).
Typical Christmas desserts and sweets include riisipuuro, which is a Finnish rice pudding made with milk and rice, usually flavoured with cinnamon, Joulutorttu, which is a Finnish cake made with a sweet dough and filled with plums, almonds and sultanas, and piparkakku, which is a typical Finnish Christmas gingerbread biscuit.
Glögi is the traditional Finnish Christmas drink par excellence. It is a spiced and sweetened wine made from red wine and served hot. It is usually made with sultanas, almonds and other nuts, and is usually drunk at Christmas meals and other festive occasions.
Joulupukki: Santa Claus in Finland
Joulupukki, also known as the Finnish Santa Claus, lives in Rovaniemi, Lapland. Every year he brings presents to all the good children in Finland. Joulupukki is very old and wise, and knows exactly who has behaved badly and who has behaved well. He always comes on Christmas Eve and always brings exactly what each child wants.
Joulupukki is a very important figure in Finnish culture, and is much loved by children all over the country. Every Christmas, children leave their shoes on the night of the 24th, in the hope that Joulupukki will fill them with presents. Joulupukki is also said to have a magic sleigh, pulled by eight reindeer.
As you can see, Christmas celebrations in Finland take place throughout the month of December, from the first Pikkujoulu festivities at the beginning of the month until 6 January, when Christmas in Finland comes to an end.