Thursday, December 4, 2014

Day 2: Finland

Finland in Winter

Next stop Finland! Before we learn about Finnish traditions, let's learn how to say 'Merry Christmas' in Finnish. It's Hyvaa Joulua.

Some people believe that Santa Claus come from Finland and lives in he northern part of the country, north of the Arctic Circle. People from all over the world send letters to Finland, hoping they'll arrive at Father Christmas' house. There's even a big theme park called 'Christmas Land' near where it's said that Father Christmas lives.

Everyone tries to be at home for Christmas-even the fishermen try to dock their boats by December 21st. People clean their houses for the three special days of Christmas-Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day- and make special treats to eat. They also make a sheaf of grain, nuts and seed that are tied on a pole so that the birds can enjoy food too.
Christmas Land

On Christmas Eve morning, people traditionally eat rice porridge and drink plum fruit juice (yum!). They'll then spend the day decorating a spruce tree with candles, apples, fruit, candies, paper flags, stars, cotton and tinsel. A star is put on the top of the tree to remind them of the Star of Bethlehem. In the afternoon, a ceremony is broadcast on the radio and TV. It starts with the hymn, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" and then the "Declaration of Christmas Peace" is read. It talks about the birth of Jesus and how everyone should be peaceful and joyous on this special day. The ceremony ends with trumpets playing the Finnish national anthem.

That night, they dress up for Christmas dinner, which usually begins between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., or traditionally when the first star is seen in the sky. They eat a traditional Christmas dinner: including casseroles made of macaroni, rutabaga, carrot and potato, cooked ham or turkey, and lots of other delicious food. Gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve after dinner, and then Christmas Day starts very early-at 6 a.m. with a special church service.

Fun Facts:
*Finnish people believe that Father Christmas doesn’t have to travel very
far on Christmas Eve to deliver presents since he lives so close to them.

*Tradition says that Father Christmas will deliver the presents himself,
maybe even with a handful of elves! Because of this belief, kids don’t
hang Christmas stockings.

*Christmas Eve is the biggest day of the Christmas season, because it’s
the day that Father Christmas comes.

Make a Finnish Paper Star for your Tree!
*Paper (you can use whatever paper you want, but the prettier the
A Finnish Paper Star (and no, I didn't make this :)
better! A 12 x 12 sheet of scrapbook paper is perfect.) You can also
use felt if you want your star to last for years.
*Pencil & eraser
*Optional: clothes pins or paper clips to hold the ends in place
while the glue dries

*Optional: glitter

1. Measure out 12 strips that are 12 inches long and 3/4 inches wide. (This will make a big star. If you want to make a smaller tree ornament, cut 12 strips that are 6 inches long and 1/2 inch wide).
Measure out 12 strips that are 12 inches long and ¾ inches wide.

2. Cut out the strips. If you want to add glitter to your paper, now is a good time! Get out the glue and make your strips pretty.

3. Weave six strips together into an X. Make sure that they weave together at the very center of the strips.

4. Glue the two strips together that from an "L" (or backwards "L") in the X shape. Do this on all four sides. Now almost all of your strips should be glued together, except for four strips that make a cross.

5. Now take your other six strips and repeat steps 3 and 4. You'll have two pieces that look exactly the same. These are your star halves.

6. Lay one of the star halves on top of the other star, making the curved loop match up with a straight piece of paper.

I didn't make this one either

7. Weave the two straight edges closest to each other through the loops and glue them together. Do this for all of the straight pieces of paper. Then glue the centers together. Now just add a string and hang your star-on your tree, by your window, or wherever you wish!

All of the above information has been taken from the Wycliffe-created characters, Kate and Mack. If you would like to sign up for more children activities or learn about the book these characters feature in (Around the World with Kate and Mack), click on this link:

1 comment:

  1. Hi, really great post, except that the first image is not from Finland. It's apparently Bavaria, Germany We don't have mountains in Finland. Just fells. like the ones in the Christmas Village picture.