Christmas in Finland
Did you know that Rovaniemi is thought to be the official hometown of Santa Klaus? In fact, Santa Klaus’ Main Post Office, which is located in Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi, belongs to Finland’s national postal service and receives thousands of letters from children around the world each year. Needless to say, Finns love Christmas and celebrate the holiday with festive and unique traditions.
Christmas Eve is the highlight of the celebration, rather than the day of Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Finnish people traditionally eat rice porridge and plum juice for breakfast. It is also common to visit cemeteries and light candles for deceased loved ones.
At noon on Christmas Eve, a ceremony is held in Turku, Finland’s former capital, to declare “Christmas Peace,” which lasts for 20 days. The tradition of declaring Christmas Peace in Finland dates all the way back to the 1320s. This ceremony has been held in Turku every year since the 13th century, with the only exceptions being the years under Russian occupation (1712-1721), the 1917 militia strike, and the Winter War of 1939.
Christmas Dinner is usually enjoyed on Christmas Eve, which usually consists of ham and Nordic delicacies such as rutabaga casserole, herring, and beetroot salad. Following dinner, Santa brings gifts which are placed under the tree and opened later in the evening, instead of on Christmas morning.
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