The season for Finnis pre-Christmas parties starts already in the beginning of November. Pre-Christmas parties are part of work places, student organizations, hobby/athlete groups and all sorts of different organizations. Pre-Christmas is a relaxed party with Christmas theme. The party usually contains of good food, quite a lot drinking, one might even say too much. Often Santa Claus visits and different kinds of games relating to dealing pre-Christmas gifts are popular.
In traditional Finnish Christmas dinner table you can find rice porridge, oven baked ham, root vegetable casseroles, rosolli and different kinds of fish dishes such as gravlax and lutefish. Nowadays dinner table has had influence from all around the world and it can for example contain turkey. In Lapland for dinner is often served also reindeer in different forms. Glögi (mulled wine) is a traditional Christmas time hot drink. It is actually a Swedish tradition and the genuine glögi always contains alcohol. Juice glögi is, however, sold in every market and served in most of Christmas events.
Santa Claus according to Finnish traditional tale used to be a buck and according to shamanistic tradition dressed as one with horns and everything. Todays’ Santa Claus is more like Saint Nicolaus, a benefactor and helper of the children. Santa lives in Korvatunturi (a fell in Finnish Lapland), he is very old, hundreds of years. Santa works in Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi on Arctic Circle. In Finland Santa visits homes on Christmas Eve delivering gifts. Santa does not go through the chimney in Finland. Santa’s visit is often also a part of pre-Christmas parties.
Elves are Santa’s little helpers. They observe who of the children have been nice and deserve most gifts. Children have as a habit to leave a letter for Santa somewhere in the yard and the elves pick up the letter. With letter is always left some delicacies for the elf, for example ginger bread cookies. You should try if the elves would visit your balcony. Have you also remembered to be nice?
Tuomas and Nuutti
According to old tradition Christmas season started on the day of Tuomas (21. December) and it ends to Epiphany on the day of Nuutti (6. January). An old saying is that “the Good Tuomas brings the Christmas and bad Nuutti takes it away”.
Christmas Eve is the most important day of the Finnish Christmas. Part of Finnish traditions is that the actual holy day is celebrated on the Eve and this is how it is also on Christmas. On Christmas Eve Finnish people feed the birds, visit cemetary, maybe take part in mass in church, have a Christmas sauna, eat Christmas dinner and Santa visits.
In Finland the Christmas tree inside the house which will be decorated is usually a spruce. The spruce will be decorated with Christmas balls, silver ribbons, candles and straw decorations. On the top will be a star. In the old days around the tree children played and sang. Nowadays the spruces outside on the yards get light decorations. DAS has a Christmas tree with lights on the yard of DAS Nili almost opposite to the University of Lapland.