Finland and Santa Claus
Why does the real Santa Claus live in Finland? You can meet him on any day of the year, without any charge, only in Finland. Santa Claus’ own animal, the reindeer, lives in Finland. There is snow on the ground during the Christmas season. At the Arctic Circle, Santa Claus has a post office of his own and the world’s only Main Santa Post Office. The Finnish Santa Claus receives by far the most letters from the children around the world. The only real amusement park of Santa Claus, the SantaPark, is situated in Finland. There are wide circles in Finland that have committed themselves to help Santa Claus.
Finnish Christmas can be experienced both in the north and in the south, in the east and in the west, i.e. everywhere in Finland, a country 1160 kilometres in length and 540 kilometres in breadth.
Finnish Christmas embraces by the wait for Christmas, the snow, the warmth and heat brought by real fire, the hunt for the Christmas tree and the moments spent in decorating it, old-fashioned sleigh rides, reindeer- or dog-pulled sled rides, or modern snowmobiles, skiing, skating, bob-sledge or sled slides, the traditional Christmas dishes, the islanders’ tradition, Saint Lucy, the “tiernapojat” tradition, Christmas markets, the proclamation of Yuletide peace, Christmas church, Christmas carols and, of course, the visit of Santa Claus and the elfin games played especially in schools.
Finnish Christmas can be celebrated both in cities and traditionally in the countryside, and a foreign guest can pay a speedy visit to Santa Claus by plane or spend a pleasant Christmas at a hotel, and everything there between. The most important thing is that each locality offers its own peculiarities and traditions for the visitor to see and experience. And: at Christmas there reign peace on earth and good will towards men.
Lapland, the homeland of Santa Claus, is situated at the Arctic Circle.
Santa Claus, Lady Santa and the elves have time to relax in summer. This is when a lucky wanderer can see them angling or picking berries on the fells of Lapland. Sometimes Santa Claus has time for his favourite hobby, gold panning. He and his companions also go to the sauna and dare sometimes to dive into ice-cold lakewater after the intense heat of the sauna.
Everlasting Christmas in SantaPark!
SantaPark, Santa´s very own home cavern, overflowing with Christmas spirit, has been welcoming guests since 1998. SantaPark is located deep within the bowels of the earth, 50 metres below the Arctic Circle. Many marvelous attractions await you there! Cheerful elves will lead you to the Elf School to learn elf skills and to the Calligraphy School, where you can practice the traditional elf penmanship. Together with the elves, you will make your own wonderful Christmas ornament! At Mrs. Gingerbread’s Bakery, yummy Christmas treats are decorated and the beloved Magic Train will drive you through the Winter Wonderland. In the lovely Ice Princess’ Ice Gallery, you can admire magnificent sculptures and enjoy delicious refreshing drinks at the Ice Bar. Come and be enchanted by our fantasy show at the Central Plaza, where you can also enjoy the mouth-watering snacks of Kota Hut Cafe. And of course, at SantaPark you will also meet Santa Claus. The jolly old white-bearded man is already waiting for you at his office.
Snow is a white flaky substance composed of ice crystals, covering Lapland from November until late in spring. Snowmen, snow castles and snow balls can be made of snow. On a beautiful winter day, snow flakes hover like fairies towards the ground. Santa Claus rides his pulka lightly on the snowdrifts, because snow hardened by frost can bear even heavy weights. Snow and water together make ice. Ice lanterns belong to Finnish Christmas. One skates on ice and skis on snowdrifts. The first snow of the year is always the most imposing. The Finnish language has many different verbs for different kinds of snowfalls: “pyryttää” (the snow swirls down in large amounts), “tuiskuaa” (the snow whirls about), “tupruttaa” (the snow blows about in gusts).
Yuletide peace proclaimed in Turku
Yuletide peace is proclaimed in Turku at noon on 24 December, on Christmas Eve. The concept of Yuletide peace was known as early as the 13th century in the realm to which Finland, too, belonged. The Finnish language was used in the proclamation for the first time in 1711. The wording of the modern proclamation is based on an edict from Queen Christine dating from the 1640’s. On the radio, the peace has been proclaimed in its modern formulation since 1935. The television came into the picture in 1983.
The welfare of all animals is close to Santa’s heart, not only that of his own reindeer. For instance, in the zoological park in Ranua, Christmas is always celebrated by the animals, too, and all the arctic animals of the zoo participate in the festivities from the lemmings to the lynxes. The bears, though, hibernate during the Yuletide season and cannot unfortunately take part in the Christmas party.
Santa Claus has a few reindeer-herding territories of his own in Lapland. Such are the Salla reindeer park and the Vuotso reindeer village, in all of which the reindeer have the star role to play.