PENTTILÄ GARDENS COTTAGES
CHRISTMAS IN FINLAND
Christmas time in Finland is the most special holiday period next to Juhanus, the longest day - midsummer. Celebrating this magical period in Finland is possible in your cottage at Penttilä - so book for next Christmas soon. You can cut your own tree here in our forest and buy typical Finnish Christmas tree decorations here in town and take them home with you after your holidays are over.
Read more on our accomodations.
Our house, photographed from the other side of the lake, which is frozen over at Christmas time - as all the lakes in Finland are. At the bottom left, just above the Christmas tree is the blue house.
"Christmas is an extensively prepared celebration centering on the family and home, although it has a religious dimension also. The Christmas season starts from December or even in late November, when shops began advertising potential Christmas gifts. Christmas decorations and songs become more prominent as Christmas nears, and children count days to Christmas with Advent calendars. Schools and some other places have the day before Christmas Eve (aatonaatto) as a holiday, but at the latest on the Christmas Eve (jouluaatto), shops close early. Christmas Day (joulupäivä) is celebrated on December 25 and the following day (Tapaninpäivä, "St. Stephen's Day") are mandatory public holidays in Finland. Schools continue holidays up to the New Year. The Declaration of Christmas Peace has been a tradition in Finland from the Middle Ages every year, except in 1939 due to the Winter War. It is a custom in many towns and cities. The most famous one of these declarations is on the Old Great Square of Turku, the former capital of Finland, at noon on Christmas Eve. It is broadcast on Finnish radio (since 1935) and television, and nowadays also in some foreign countries. The declaration ceremony begins with the hymn Jumala ompi linnamme (Martin Luther's A Mighty Fortress Is Our God) and continues with the Declaration of Christmas Peace read from a parchment roll: "Tomorrow, God willing, is the most gracious feast of the birth of our Lord and Saviour, and therefore a general Christmas peace is hereby declared, and all persons are directed to observe this holiday with due reverence and otherwise quietly and peacefully to conduct themselves, for whosoever breaks this peace and disturbs the Christmas holiday by any unlawful or improper conduct shall be liable, under aggravating circumstances, to whatever penalty is prescribed by law and decree for each particular offence or misdemeanour. Finally, all citizens are wished a joyous Christmas holiday." The Ceremony ends with trumpets playing the Finnish national anthem Maamme and Porilaisten marssi, with the crowd usually singing when the band plays Maamme. Recently, there is also a declaration of Christmas peace for forest animals in many cities and municipalities, so there is no hunting during Christmas. It is traditional in Finland to bring candles to the graves of loved ones on Christmas Eve and All Saints Day. Finnish people clean their homes well before Christmas and prepare special treats for the festive season. A sheaf of grain, nuts and seeds are tied on a pole, which is placed in the garden for the birds to feed on. Spruce trees are cut or bought from a market and taken to homes on or a few days before Christmas Eve and are decorated. Candles are lit on the Christmas tree, which is traditionally decorated using apples and other fruits, candies, paper flags, cotton and tinsel. Actual candles are no longer used, being replaced by incandescent lamps. A star symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem is placed at the top of the tree. Just before the Christmas festivities begin, people usually take a Christmassauna. The tradition is very old; unlike on normal days, when one wouild go to the sauna in the evening, on Christmas Eve it is done before sunset. This tradition is based on a pre-20th century belief that the spirits of the dead return and have a sauna at the usual sauna hours. Afterwards, they dress up in clean clothes for the Christmas dinner or joulupöytä, which is usually served between 5pm and 7pm, or traditionally with the appearance of the first star in the sky. The most traditional dish of the Finnish Christmas dinner is probably Christmas Ham, roast suckling pig or a roasted fresh ham, but some may prefer alternatives like turkey. Many kinds of casseroles are also popular. Other traditional Christmas dishes include boiled codfish (soaked beforehand in a lye solution for a week to soften it) served snowy white and fluffy, pickled herring and vegetables. Prune jam pastries, plum or mixed fruit soup, rice porridge with cinnamon, sugar and cold milk, and sweets like chocolate are popular desserts. Christmas gifts are usually exchanged after Christmas Eve dinner. Children do not hang up stockings in Finland but Joulupukki visits the household, maybe with a tonttu to help him distribute the presents. Christmas Day services begin early at six in the morning and people visit families and reunions are arranged on this day."
Below the blue house are the sauna and the old smoke sauna.