Christmas time means pre-Christmas parties and for our eight meeting we went to the EOTO Christmas party which was at Solu. There were many other students from around the world who were also participating the EOTO course. Many students had brought some traditional food and snacks from their home countries to share with everyone. At the party me and Jocelyn talked about Christmas traditions in Finland and the Netherlands.
In Finland we celebrate Christmas on 24th December, Christmas Eve. In the morning of the 24th there is a children’s TV show where Santa Claus takes calls from children and they also show traditional Christmas animations and movies. Christmas is spent with family. Many families go to church on Christmas Eve and for most of them Christmas is the only day of the year they go to church. Some of my family members go to church in some of the Christmases but not always. Personally, I don’t go to church because I have resigned from the church. In the evening, after the church or some other activities, there is the Christmas dinner which consists of oven-baked ham, root vegetable casseroles, mixed beetroot salad, smoked salmon and many other different salads, meat and fish dishes. At some point, usually after dinner, Santa Claus comes for a visit. Santa Claus’ visit is usually a tradition only if there are young children in the family but some families hire one even when the children are older and don’t believe in Santa Claus anymore. Children sing songs to Santa Claus and then Santa Claus brings presents to everyone. The presents can be placed for example under the Christmas tree by family members if Santa doesn’t visit. After Santa Claus leaves the presents are opened and the rest of the evening is spent with family. Rest of the Christmas (25th and 26th) is usually spent with family and I personally visit my grandparents and my boyfriend’s family on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
In the Netherlands the Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Day 25th and the second Christmas Day 26th. I already posted a blog about Dutch traditions and I told about Sinterklaas. On Sinterklaas’ Day children get presents so it is not a common tradition in the Netherlands to give presents on Christmas Day. Christmas is more spiritual and it involves church. In the Netherlands Christmas is also spent with family and it includes a Christmas dinner. A Dutch Christmas dinner usually includes roast pork, vegetables, homemade bread and pepernoten.
Although very similar, there were surprisingly many differences between Finnish and Dutch Christmas. It was nice to get to know more about Dutch traditions and the pepernoten cookies that Jocelyn had brought were so good I’m going to buy them too!