Christmas in Finland is unforgettable for many visitors during the holiday season, as the Finnish Christmas traditions can vary from your home's traditions quite a bit. So how do they celebrate Christmas in Finland?
The first Sunday in December (also called the First Advent) starts the Finnish Christmas season. Many children use advent calendars that count down the remaining days to Christmas Eve.
December 13 is the day of Saint Lucia, who is celebrated with lots of candles and formal celebrations in every town with a candle-crowned young girl. The time for Scandinavian Christmas tree shopping and decorating is coming, and Christmas cards are being exchanged.
Essentials on Christmas Eve in Finland are Christmas mass, and a visit to a Finnish sauna, of course. Many Finnish families also visit cemeteries to remember the dead and have porridge for lunch (with a hidden almond in it - the finder has to sing a song.)
Between 5-7 pm on Christmas Eve, Christmas dinner is served in Finland, which traditionally consists of oven-baked ham, rutabaga casserole, beetroot salad, and similar holiday foods. Christmas Eve in Finland also consists of joyful carols and local Christmas songs. The Christmas presents are usually given out in the evening during a personal visit from the local Santa Claus.
Christmas in Finland officially ends 13 days after Christmas Day.
And last but not least, don't forget that "Merry Christmas" in Finnish is "Hyvää Joulua!"
Go back to the main article Christmas in Scandinavia for more Christmas traditions!