Christmas (JOULU) and its traditions in Finland
Christmas is considered as the most important festivity in Finland. Finns have many Christmas traditions and among other things the Finns believe that the real Father Christmas (Santa Claus) lives in Finland, not at the North Pole. Therefore you even find a Christmas land in Finland and you can visit Father Christmas and his helpers there.
At about midday on Christmas Eve, 'Christmas Peace' is declared over all Finland from the country's former capital Turku. It is a ceremonial 'opening' of the Christmas season.
Also the City of Tampere will declare Christmas Peace but this year it takes place already on the 22nd December at 7 pm at Keskustori central square.
Christmas is a holiday which centres on the family and the home. At dusk on Christmas Eve, people light candles on their family graves. Families then gather together for the main Christmas meal. The most important Christmas food is ham. The high point of the evening is the visit of Father Christmas, who brings the Christmas presents with him in person. Candles and the traditional Christmas decorations made from straw help to achieve the traditional Christmas atmosphere.
The urban Christmas is an entertaining mixture of children's plays, charity, commerce, worship, family holiday and peasant customs. Christian traditions have been interwoven with the secular aspect of Christmas. Attending the Christmas service has become a tradition in many families, often mainly for nostalgic reasons.
Christmas holidays (public holidays) last 3 days from 24th to 26th of December.
For more information on Finnish Christmas traditions see for example:
Hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta 2011!
SITR/ Maria Virtanen 10.12.2010
(24 Dec 2010)