Christmas Traditions in Finland
Christmas is one of the best times of the year to be in Finland, and everyone looks forward to it. But how do Finnish people celebrate Christmas?
Finland starts celebrating joulu (which means Christmas in Finnish) on the 24th of December, after having prepared food for the joulupöytä (Christmas table) since the 23rd. Families get together on this day and enjoy the festive season. December 25th is dedicated to visiting relatives who live further away.
One of the most important symbols of Christmas, besides Santa Claus, is Joulukinkku. Cooked overnight for at least five hours, the savory and sweet smell of the ham wakes up the entire family in the morning! The ham is eaten for breakfast or for Christmas dinner in the evening, accompanied by the unforgettable Finnish coffee and Glögi.
Glögi is mulled wine, which can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. It’s made with different spices, like cloves, cinnamon, and ginger and is very tasty, and sweet!
For lunch, Christmas porridge is the main dish. Made with rice, sugar and cinnamon, the lucky person who finds an almond in their plate can make a wish!
After lunch, there is the Christmas sauna, which has been part of Finnish culture and tradition for centuries. People go to the sauna to relax and to enjoy the heat of the hot steam, while it’s snowing and cold outside. In the late afternoon, Finnish people go to church for Mass and to pray.
After Mass, families go back home for Christmas dinner, with joulukinkku, rutabaga casserole, sweet potato casserole, salted salmon, Christmas pastries and gingerbread cookies. Delicious!
After dinner, Santa Claus appears and gives gifts to the children! Then, the rest of the evening is for chilling and relaxing with the family.
Many people also take the opportunity to go to the graveyard and put a candle on their relatives’ graves.
We wish you a happy, joyful and Merry Christmas!
Hyvää Joulua kaikille!