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Finnish Christmas traditions: warmth and light in the dark winter

Christmas is one of the most eagerly awaited celebrations in Finland and around the world. In this article, we delve into the heart of Finnish Christmas traditions, explore Christmas treats and find out how Finns prepare for a celebration that brings light into the dark winter.

The Christmas celebration is inspired by both the Christian faith and the old pagan winter solstice celebrations.

In a Finnish home, Christmas begins with decorations. Lights and decorations are an essential part of creating the Christmas atmosphere in the midst of the dark winter. In addition to this, you buy and decorate a tree, light candles and in some cases make ice lanterns.

Traditional Christmas food and treats

The Christmas meal is the highlight of the celebrations in Finland. Traditional Christmas dishes include ham, casseroles, rosolli and rice porridge. In addition, Christmas cakes and gingerbread are often served as desserts.

Christmas ham is the centrepiece of the Finnish Christmas table and is traditionally cooked in the oven for a long time and with great care. Ham is often seasoned with mustard and breadcrumbs, which give it a delicious crust. Christmas ham is often served cold, with enough to eat for several days.

Casseroles are an essential part of the Finnish Christmas table. The most typical casseroles are ones made with either potato, carrot or swede. These casseroles are made with the main ingredients, rice or barley, and spices such as syrup and nutmeg, simmered in the oven. They are served warm and add a sweet depth to the Christmas table.

Rosolli is a colourful salad of beetroot, carrot, potato and apple. Often pickled cucumber and onion are also added, and the whole thing is topped with whipped cream. Rosolli is both a beautiful and fresh addition to the Christmas table.

On Christmas Eve, many Finnish homes serve rice porridge cooked with milk for breakfast. The tradition is to mix an almond into the porridge, and the person who finds it is promised good luck for the coming year. Rice porridge is usually served with sugar, cinnamon and milk.

Pastries are an important part of Finnish Christmas. Christmas cakes, star-shaped pastries, are filled with plum jam and baked until crispy. Gingerbread biscuits, spicy and crunchy cookies, are often shaped into Christmas-themed patterns such as stars or hearts. Not only are they delicious, but they're fun to bake for the whole family.

Glögi, a spicy and often alcoholic drink, is a Finnish Christmas warmer. It is made by heating red wine or juice with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom. When served, raisins and almond flakes are often added to the mulled wine.

Together, these dishes create a Finnish Christmas table full of flavours and traditions. They provide a great way to get together with family and friends to enjoy the festivities and each other's company.

Santa Claus and the magic of Lapland

It is impossible to talk about Finnish Christmas without mentioning Santa Claus, a figure known world wide. Lapland, the official home of Santa Claus, has become a global Christmas destination.

Christmas is a time to stop, enjoy the company of loved ones and rest. It is a time when Finns focus on family, friends and community. We hope these traditions and tips will help you create your own, unforgettable Christmas.