Christmas In Finland
By: Sehr, Kriten, Aimee
Everyone tries to be at home for Christmas, including fishermen who try to get their boats into the harbour by December 21st, St. Thomas' Day. Animals are given their own Christmas in Finland, with farmers sometimes hanging a sheaf of wheat on a tree to be eaten and pecked at by the birds. Nuts and pieces of suet are also hung on trees in bags from the branches. Everyone cleans their houses ready for the three holy days of Christmas - Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. On Christmas Eve, or the day before, Christmas trees are bought from the local market or square. The seller expects you to bargain with them on the price. Christmas Eve is very special and the most important day over Christmas. It's traditional to eat rice porridge and plum fruit juice for breakfast. Then the tree is bought (if it hasn't been already) and is decorated. At midday, the 'peace of Christmas' is broadcast on radio and TV by the City Mayor of Turku (which is south Finland). Because it gets dark in most parts of Finland around Christmas (about 3.00pm) it's now traditional to go cemeteries and visit the graves of family members. Some cemeteries are enormous and police are on duty to manage the traffic, but everyone must walk the last few yards to the grave. Candles in hanging lanterns are left around the grave, often lots of many family members go. The whole cemetery is alight with glowing lanterns shining in the snow - a winter wonderland. Other people like a sauna on Christmas Eve.