“The great hero of Finnish Christmas is Joulupukki, the real Santa who comes from Finland and lives in Korvatunturi,” says Magdalena Herrgård, Media Relations Coordinator at the Consulate General of Finland in New York. “Finnish Christmas celebrations differ whether you live in the city or countryside. On our family farm there’s a custom that we all go to the forest to find the perfect Christmas tree. It’s a long process with a lot of different opinions!”
A traditional Finnish Christmas meal, Herrgård explains, consists of delicacies such as herring, rosolli (root vegetable salad), vegetable casseroles and Christmas ham with a dessert of cold, pureed plum.
“One of the most beautiful traditions in Finland,” she continues, “is to visit the graveyard on Christmas Eve. Relatives remember their deceased loved ones by placing candles on their graves. Seas of burning candles look beautiful against the white snow and light the dark sky. But I remember always being extremely cold during those trips.”
More on Christmas in Scandinavia