Tag Archives: Christmas

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. That is how Andy Williams describes Christmas in his song released in 1963.

Finland is located in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter is the longest season in Lapland. It begins in the end of october and ends in May. In southern Finland winter lasts for about four months. After a long, cold and dark fall first snow turns Finland into winter wonderland. Well, sometimes into a wet and slushy wonderland too. Days are very short and in Lapland sun doesn’t rise in three months. Temperatures varies from +5 celsius to -35 celsius. Winter is also the best season to see Northern Lights.

Finland’s Independence Day and Christmas holidays will give a break from work and studies. It’s a good time to celebrate, enjoy of the beautiful nature and eat well. Additionally students have a winter holiday in February so they can enjoy winter weather and winter sports. In winter you can enjoy activities like ice-skating, cross country skiing and downhill skiing. Thousands of lakes in Finland will be frozen in winter. You can go walking, skiing, ice-skating, ice fishing or even drive a car on ice. The bravest will go swimming in an ice hole. Ice will be melting in midsummer in the Northern part of Finland. Or you can be at home in front of a fireplace enjoying a hot drink wearing the coziest clothes and woolen stocks.

Finland’s Independence Day is a national public holiday held on 6th of December. Many festivities are being kept all around Finland. In the evening the Presidential Independence Day reception is being broadcasted from the Presidential Palace. Independence day is all about respecting veterans and being grateful for our beautiful country.

As we all know Santa Claus lives in Korvatunturi, Finland. Christmas Eve is being celebrated on 24th of December. It includes eating lots of traditional Christmas foods and sparing time with family. Santa Claus delivers gifts in Christmas Eve. Many Finnish people goes to church and visits graveyards.

When I think of Finland I can see a beautiful landscape of snowy nature. To me, winter is the best season to enjoy Finnish nature and culture.

 

Finnish Winter

(The song is not very Finnish, but otherwise it depicts the our winter pretty well!)

The winter in Finland can be as magical as it can be dark and cold. Here I have listed some essential things in experiencing the Finnish winter. Be prepared!

The Cold

Talvi (winter) takes up to one third of a year, it starts around November and lasts until the beginning of April, which I feel is a very long time. During that time the time of daylight is short, and the weather may change drastically. Temperatures may vary from – 0 to – 20 degrees celcius, sometimes going down to -30 celcius. We tackle pakkanen (the cold, the minus degree temperatures) with warm, thick clothes and go to work and school. Yet, because of the melting of the North Pole, the winters in Finland are slowly getting milder so the actual cold periods are getting much shorter. I wish that meant we could get the summer earlier, because that’s even more beautiful than our winter!

Winter sports

Many Finns do like talviurheilu (winter sports), especially during January and February when the snow and ice are strong enough to carry people’s weight. Skiing, skating, downhill skiing, snowmobile driving, downhill sledging and ice hockey are popular pastimes you can enjoy during winters. In northern Finland you can also go and try riding a dog sledge! Those can be really fun if the weather allows it.

Sauna

After a long day in the cold a sauna is a must, especially a wood-heated sauna. The heat, the wooden planks, dim lights, sound of crackling fire and a sauna drink (of your choice) will make you feel very relaxed. It is enjoyable both going alone and together with friends and/or family. I haven’t met a Finn who has never been to a sauna, so it’s quite an essential experience.

Christmas

My favourite holiday! The celebrating of joulu (Christmas) doesn’t differ from other countries that much, except have a thing called ’pikkujoulu’ = ’little Christmas’ which is celebrated on the last Saturday of November. It’s a non-formal party day held by organisations, companies or just among friends, with some Christmas treats like gingerbread biscuits and glögi (mulled wine).

The Christmas we spend with family and/or friends in our homes, decorated with many Christmas lights to lighten up the darkess. We share the presents on the Christmas Eve (or Joulupukki = Santa Claus does!), take a joulusauna, and make and eat lots of good food. Joulupöytä (Yule table, a table the Christmas food is served on) usually includes ham, many different casseroles, fish, cranberry jam, steamed potatoes, salads, cinnamon buns, gingerbread biscuits, glögi, boxes of chocolate, green marmelade balls and many other. I also play a lot of tabletop games and card games, visit my grandmother and watch lots of movies with my family.

Personally, the winter is awesome until the New Year’s Eve; after that it starts to feel like it never ends. I’m glad we have all four seasons!

December in Helsinki:

The best things of Finland

I think Finland is a very beautiful and great country. I’m proud of my Finnishness and I like to live in Finland. We can seem quite silence and sensitive people but I think it’s only when we don’t know other people. With family and friends that’s not happening. We can have fun and enjoy of the company!

Nature

The best thing of the nature of Finland is cleanness. The forests are healthy and the lakes and sea are mostly clean. That makes everything so beautiful! I love being in nature. I can just go to walk to the forest and watch and listen things around me. In Finland you can collect berries and mushrooms where ever you want and also eat those as much as you like.

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In Lapland the nature is quite different. There are plenty of mountains and in winter time lot of snow. That is also very beautiful sight and you can enjoy of that for example by doing downhill skiing.

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Sauna

Finns love sauna and I do that also. We use sauna around the year. Many people have a summer cottage and there is always a sauna. So in summertime we go to the cottage and use sauna and swim in a lake or sea. That gets you a very relaxed feeling!

After summer when it gets colder we use sauna at home. Many people do that on weekends on Friday or Saturday. After the working week people relax by using sauna and maybe drinking couple of beers with it.

When we are talking about sauna I must mention also that in Finland it is completely normal to go to sauna with all your family and relative and many times you don’t need any swimsuit! Of course some people have ”women turn” and ”men turn” but not always at all.

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Holidays and celebrations

In Finland we have many holidays around the year but the longest and best ones are in summer and at the Christmas time. Those are the holidays when you can really forget the school and works and enjoy of the free time.

The high point of the summer is Midsummer. That is a feast when most of people go to some summer cottage and have fun with relative or friends. Midsummer includes sauna and swimming, good food and drinks, bonfire and maybe Midsummer dances. Midsummer is also the time when the Sun is up longest time in the year so the night is very light.

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The Christmas holiday is of course because of the Christmas. That is maybe the biggest feast of the year and Finns are spending it with family and relative. At the Christmas time all stores are closed and everyone is at home. We eat lot of good food, listen to the Christmas songs, give presents and just relax. In families with little children Santa Claus comes to give the presents and that is the high point of the evening. Christmas is very peaceful and I love it!

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The Christmas holiday is often still going on at the time of the New Year. That is a feast when we have lot of fireworks and we are celebrating the coming year with the friends.

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Emma Itäranta