Christmas Celebration in Finland

How is Celebrate Christmas in Finland

Christmas is a major holiday in Finland, and it is celebrated with a combination of traditional customs and modern traditions. Here's how Christmas is typically celebrated in Finland:

Advent Season

The Christmas season in Finland begins with Advent, which is the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Families often light candles on an Advent wreath or calendar to mark the passing of the weeks.

Christmas Decorations

Finnish homes are adorned with various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, candles, and lights. Many families also display an Advent calendar with 24 small doors or pockets that are opened one by one in the days leading up to Christmas.

Christmas Markets

Finnish cities and towns host Christmas markets (Joulumarkkinat) throughout the holiday season. These markets offer a wide range of holiday goods, including crafts, gifts, and traditional Finnish foods and drinks.

Traditional Finnish Foods

The Christmas Eve meal, known as "Joulupöytä," is a highlight of the holiday. Traditional dishes often include "kalakukko" (fish and pork pie), "lanttulaatikko" (swede casserole), "rosolli" (beetroot salad), "joulukinkku" (Christmas ham), and various types of fish, such as salmon and herring. Rice porridge with a hidden almond is a popular dessert, and the person who finds the almond is believed to have good luck for the coming year


Christmas Sauna

Sauna is an integral part of Finnish culture, and many Finns take a Christmas sauna bath on Christmas Eve before the festivities begin.

Candlelight Services

Many Finns, whether religious or not, attend a church service on Christmas Eve. The "Joulusauna" (Christmas sauna) and church service are two of the oldest Christmas traditions in Finland.


In Finland, it is common to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve. After the Christmas Eve meal, families gather around the Christmas tree to exchange presents.

Declaration of Christmas Peace

One of the unique traditions in Finland is the declaration of Christmas Peace. This announcement is made in several cities on Christmas Eve, reminding people to spend the holiday in peace and harmony. It dates back to the Middle Ages and is read from the steps of historic churches.

Visiting Cemeteries

On Christmas Eve, it's also customary for many Finns to visit cemeteries to light candles at the graves of their loved ones, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

Santa Claus

In Finland, Santa Claus is known as "Joulupukki." The Finnish version of Santa Claus lives in Korvatunturi, Lapland, and is often associated with reindeer. Many families visit Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Lapland, where they can meet Santa, ride in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, and experience the magic of the Arctic Circle.

Christmas in Finland is a time for family gatherings, delicious food, and the warmth of tradition. It's a celebration of light and peace during the darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere.

In Finland, Christmas is celebrated from 24th to 26th of December. Preparations for the festival begin from approximately a month ago with many Finnish people buying the Christmas tree, decorative items and gifts and goodies for the season. Houses are cleaned and special treats like gingerbread cookies and prune tarts prepared for the oncoming festive season.

The first Sunday in December (also called the First Advent) starts the Finnish Christmas season. Christmas lights begin to appear in the stores along with gifts, goods and goodies for the festival. Children count the days to the festival making their own Christmas calendar with some great pictures related to the Christmas theme or even some chocolate caramel.

In Finland the Christmas tree is set up on Christmas Eve. Fir trees are felled, tied onto sleds, and taken home to be decorated beautifully with candies, paper flags, cotton, tinsel, apples and other fruits. Candles are used for lighting the trees. Many women make a visit to some local sauna to groom themselves for the occassion.

Christmas here is replete with different homegrown customs. In Finnish rural areas, it is a popular tradition for farmers to tie a sheaf of grain, nuts and seeds on a pole and placing it in the garden for the birds to feed on. Only after birds eat their dinner, the farmers partake of their Christmas dinner.

Christmas dinner traditionally begins in Finland with the appearance of the first star in the sky. Dinner is served between 5-7 pm, and consists usually of roasted pig or a roasted ham and vegetables. The main dish is boiled codfish, served white and fluffy, along with allspice, boiled potatoes, and cream sauce. A week ahead of the dinner, the codfish is soaked in a lye solution to soften it. Once the dinner is complete, children head straight to bed while adults chat and drink coffee until about midnight. Other important traditions of the day consist of a visit to the Christmas mass. Many Finnish families also visit cemeteries to remember the dead and have porridge for lunch. Joyful carols and local Christmas songs also form an essential part of Christmas Eve festivities.

On Christmas Day, church services start out early at six in the morning. Most people visit families and friends. Family get-togethers are the high point of this day. Christmas cards are being exchanged and everyone wishes another "Hyvaa Joulua", meaning "Merry Christmas" in Finnish.

Christmas in Finland

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