Everyone's hearts start beating when Christmas draws near even if they are too old to believe that Santa Claus is real. Still, you often recall those days even remotely when you were excitedly expecting him to come during this period.
If you feel nostalgic about those days looking at the splendor of a Christmas tree, why don't you go and meet him for yourself?
Finland is located in the northern part of the European continent. Sweden and Norway are situated on the east and Russia on the west of it, and the capital city is Helsinki. Despite its location being further into the north than anywhere else in the world, its temperature is fairly moderate, thanks to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic Sea.
Just like other parts of the world, Finland sees its entire nation becoming full of excitement and adopting a festive mood when Christmas draws near, but there is something that makes Christmas here particularly unique: Santa Claus lives in Finland.
The Santa Claus Village is in the woods about 8 kilometers from Rovaniemi, a city in the province of Lappi. The village has, among other things, the office of Santa Claus, a library filled with books full of stories of children all over the world, and a post office through which people around the world can contact with Santa Claus.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of letters are delivered to the village, and every single one of them is replied to by Santa Claus, with the help of interpreters though, due to the diversity of the languages.
True to the fact that it is the country of Santa Claus, Christmas is truly a big occasion in Finland. People celebrate it for three days from December 24 to 26, which naturally invites people to prepare for the occasion and get in to the festive mood from early December. They even have special calendars that count down to Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, families and relatives come together for dinner. Popular cuisines include Joulukinkku (large ham baked in the oven), Glogi (hot beverage made from red wine with various spices, raisins and almonds), Joulutorttu (pastry in the shape of a pinwheel topped with prune jam) and Riisipuuro (soup made from rice, milk, cinnamon, whole almonds and other ingredients). As a dessert, they eat gingerbread with pretty decorations called Piparkakut.
On the Christmas day, they quietly and devotedly spend time with their families, paying a visit to the graves of their beloved ones, praying at church, decorating Christmas trees, and singing carols.
Boxing Day, the 26th, though well known as a day for shopping these days, is originally a day for giving gifts to those in need or making donations. Boxing Day originated from a tradition where churches used to give funds they had raised to those in need. Christmas feels even warmer in Finland as they share the warmth not only with their families but also with those in need.
Finland, the country of white snow and birch trees where people enjoy steamy saunas and, most of all, the home of Santa Claus who becomes busier than any other time of the year!
You think you did a lot of good things this year? Then why don't you learn to say ‘hi’ to Santa Claus: “Hyvaa Joulua!” (‘Merry Christmas’ in Finnish)