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A Finnish Christmas
In 2018, the country of Father Christmas is coming to Strasbourg.
In Finland, Christmas is a festival that brings together all the members of the family to share a calm and peaceful time. According to the tradition dating back to the 13th century, “Christmas Peace” was declared at midday on Christmas Eve in Turku, the oldest town in Finland. During the afternoon, Father Christmas leaves Lapland aboard his sleigh pulled by reindeer to start delivering presents to children and adults.
In the morning of 24 December, the Finns go to get the Christmas tree, set it up in their living room and decorate it as a family. They then often enjoy the sauna, before preparing the Christmas Eve meal.
Just before dinner, the Finns drink a glass of glögi, their mulled wine. The whole family then sits down around a large table to enjoy the main dish: ham roasted in the oven the previous night, not forgetting raw, smoked salmon and marinated herrings, or Rosolli vegetable salad. The dinner may also be accompanied by a rice pudding containing a blanched almond intended to bring happiness to the person that finds it, and a soup of various fruits.
Once the meal is finished, Father Christmas arrives, knocks on the door, and asks who has been good this year. Finally, the little ones can open their presents and sing for Father Christmas! After they open their presents, the family enjoy coffee and spiced cakes with star-shaped puff pastry, often garnished with prune jam.
On Christmas Day, the Finns visit their family members with whom they did not celebrate Christmas Eve, or they relax at home and enjoy their presents.
In times gone by, the Finns often went out with horses and sledges on Saint-Etienne’s Day, 26 December, for a magnificent snow-covered ride; nowadays, they have to settle for a walk or car ride!