Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Holidays in Finland

As the yard quiets down over the holidays it looks like the M/S Expedition and her crew will be having a White Christmas. It is very interesting to look at how differently different nationalities celebrate the Holiday season.
Generally there are many similarities here is some insight into some typical Finish traditions, how close or different are they to yours?

In Finland they setup the tree on Christmas Eve, decorating it with fruits, candies, cotton and tinsel.

The Christmas festivities are preceded by a visit to the famous steam baths, after which everyone dressed in clean clothes in preparation for the Christmas dinner, which is served at 5-7 in the evening.

Christmas gifts may be given out before or after the dinner. The children do not hang up stockings, but Santa Claus comes in person, often accompanied by as many as half a dozen Christmas elves to distribute the presents.

The main dish of the dinner is boiled codfish served snowy white and fluffy, with allspice, boiled potatoes, and cream sauce. The dried cod has been soaked for a week in a lye solution, then in clear water to soften it to the right texture. Also on the menu is roast suckling pig or a roasted fresh ham, mashed potatoes, and vegetables.