Finnish Christmas Tradition:
- Christmas Eve: In Finland, Christmas Eve is the main event of the holidays It is spent with the family, decorating the tree, drinking glogi or other Christmas ales , or enjoying a Christmas sauna. Traditionally, rice porridge and plum fruit juice/jam are made for breakfast. Then the tree is decorated. Around midday, the ‘peace of Christmas‘ is declared in Turku and broadcast on radio/TV across the nation. Some also go to cemeteries and visit the graves of family members, while some go for a sauna. At midnight, many visit the Christmas Mass.
- Christmas: In Finnish Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Hyvää joulua’. Christmas Day is quieter and spent with family, reading the Christmas Gospel before meal .
Christmas Lighting: Finland being a Scandinavian country, lingering darkness would be a typical winter here. But the Christmas lighting sets a totally vibrant and festive mood, resulting in a paradox of warm welcome in the chilly winter. Long evening walks through the lit up streets, the decorated Christmas trees with ornaments, and the excitement in the air, used to make our day.
Christmas Markets: Christmas markets are the street markets that have stalls for food, drink, Christmas ornaments and seasonal items related to Christmas. Typically they are held in the town square. Singing and dancing along with a cuddly Santa is a delight to watch. There would be a merry-go-round spinning in the market, providing free rides to children.
Glogi: Typically, hot Glogi also known as mulled wine, could be found in one of the stalls in Christmas markets. Finland produces the alcohol free variant of Glogi. We got to taste the version made from blackcurrant, apple and grapes. It could be spiced up with cardamon and cinnamon, and garnished with sliced almonds and raisins, with a gingerbread cookie to munch upon.
Christmas Concert and Carols: The melody of Christmas carols in the Christmas markets used to set the evening in a festive mood. Christmas concert was held in several churches. We got the privilege of attending a Christmas concert in the historic old town of Turku.