Christmas in Finland By 9th grades at Iittala
For Finnish kids, the countdown to Christmas begins during Advent, when the streets are decorated.
Children and adults alike have fun opening windows on Advent calendars, one window a day until Christmas Eve. Usually the windows reveal light-hearted Christmas pictures, although the flaps sometimes conceal chocolate or other small gifts.
In Finland, Christmas is a big event. We eat ham and different casseroles. We give and get presents. We decorate the Christmas tree. And we spend time with our families. Finnish Christmas is a time to calm down, read good books, play board games, sing Christmas carols, meet relatives and eat well. A lot of chocolate, of course!
Many go to church and take candles to the graves of the loved ones. In the old days, families travelled to church early on Christmas day in a sledge drawn by horses.
Can people see elves?
Elves are good at sneaking around, so it’s usually hard to detect them. Children are often able to see or notice something looking through the window or peeping from behind the curtains. Then they know that it’s their own personal elf tiptoeing around. Sometimes elves move something or leave some other sign to show that they have been around. They have also been known to pick up mail addressed to Santa Claus.
Joulupukki (Santa Claus)
Every culture has its own customs that deserve to be respected, and that’s just what Santa Claus does.
Santa Claus is always good. Sometimes he has to be strict, but he is always fair. Sometimes he’s a little angry, sad or upset. He gets really upset if he hears about places in the world where they don’t care for children’s well-being.
Korvatunturi, the mountain in Finnish Lapland where Santa Claus makes his home, lies 1000 kilometres north of the capital, Helsinki. He lives there with his wife and hundreds of elves. From the top of Korvatunturi, they can hear the Christmas wishes of all the children in the world.
How old is Santa?
That’s something not even he can remember exactly. Once when he was sitting in his favourite rocking chair in front of the fireplace at Korvatunturi, he began to count how many Christmases he could remember. One blog said that Santa is 1748 years old.
Where does Santa Claus live?
Santa Claus (Joulupukki) lives in Korvatunturi (“Ear Fell”) which is located in Savukoski, Northern Finland, near the Russian border. Korvatunturi is the only one right Santa’s home. Santa Claus has bases around the world but Korvatunturi is the most original. We know.
Are new elves still being born?
New Christmas elves and other kinds of elves are born frequently. When the last rays of the evening sun meet with the Northern Lights, the wind is blowing from the north and the stars are shining, that is when elves are born.
“For me the real Christmas feeling comes from the snow, quietness and peaceful environment that you get in Finland,” says Tarja Turunen, singer, songwriter and former lead vocalist of symphonic metal band Nightwish.
Turunen is part of the band Raskasta Joulua (Heavy Christmas). It is a supergroup collective with regular and occasional members who create heavified versions of well-known Finnish Christmas carols.