CHRISTMAS IN FINLAND
The Christmas season begins in October when groups get together and begin making Christmas decorations.
At this time Christmas parties or little Christmas (Pikkujouulu) are held. This tradition began in the 1920's. On the
first Sunday of Advent the traditional song, Voggler's "Hosanna" is played in all the churches. There are also Advent
concerts held in the evening. In most Finnish home a small table holds the four Advent candles, also on this table are
crosses (Tuomaanristi) carved of wood or the crosses of St. Thomas. Branch wreaths are hung on the doors and a traditional
straw mobile (Himmeli) is hung from the ceiling. This ornament is made from straw softened in the sauna and cut to equal
lengths. It is then threaded to make triangles, squares and eight sided figures. Finnish people also celebrate St. Lucia
day, which was introduced into Finland in the 1920's.
Before the Christmas Eve festivities, the family takes a cleansing steam bath (Sauna) and puts on fresh clothes.
The tree is decorated on Christmas Eve morning. At noon on Christmas Eve, the "Peace of Christmas" is proclaimed in Turku,
the old Medieval capitol of Finland. Most families take part of their Christmas Eve dinner at this time.
At sunset, on Christmas Eve, Finns make their way to the graveyards and cemeteries, where a service is held. Candles
are placed on the graves. The Finns also celebrate the day after Christmas St. Stephen's day. Fortunes are told on New
Years Eve They can be told in different ways, from object hidden under cups to casting molten tin into a bucket of cold
water. The resulting sculpture is held up to the light. The image formed by the shadow, are omens of the future. Christmas
celebrations end on the twelfth night. the Epiphany.
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