For our 6. Each one Teach one Meeting we decided to go to the Stable yard Christmas Market in Tampere to get into Christmas mood and get to know the difference between the German and the Finnish Christmas traditions. That’s why we met there on the 26.11.2016 in the afternoon.
At first I unfortunately had to discover that they don’t sell any mulled wine or Glögi with alcohol at the Christmas market, which was really surprising, since in Germany they sell mulled wine nearly on every stand. Inka also explained us why. The reason is the strict alcohol law in Finland. People are only allowed to sell alcohol in cafés, restaurants, shops or in general in closed destinations. That’s why it is prohibited to sell them outside at the Christmas market. Besides the seller also needs a certain certificate for which they have to pay for. There are three types of certificates, A, B and C. If somebody has the A certificate he is for example allowed to sell every kind of alcohol. However if you only have the C certificate you are only allowed to sell beer. Furthermore every sales person of alcohol has to take part at a certain course, where they learn all this things. I have already heard about the strict Finnish alcohol laws. Yet I haven’t imagined them to be that strict. Besides there were also other differences between this Finnish Christmas market and the one in Germany. In Germany we have for example much more stands with things to eat and I was also surprised to find a tent to sit inside on the Finnish Christmas market.
While looking around the market we discovered some Finnish specialities like blueberry pie, joulutorttu or pipari, which is according to Inka a typical Finnish Christmas cookie. Besides we were also talking about the food we have for the Christmas evening. My Finnish Each one Teach one partner explained that they always have mashed potatoes which they bake in the oven or mashed carrots mixed with rice porridge and also baked in the oven. These dishes are completely different from the ones we have in Germany. There we always have potato salad and sausage or goose with dumplings and red cabbage. When I mentioned the potato salad and sausage Inka explained that they always have this kind of food for Vappu. This is a national holiday on the beginning of May.
Furthermore we also discovered some nice Christmas decoration in the market and realized that they are really similar to the one we have in Germany. We also found these sticks with leaves called “vihta” with which the Finnish people are “hitting” themselves during the sauna to stimulate the blood flow. Inka told us that she uses them sometimes and that it is not as bad as it sounds. Besides we also went inside a chocolate shop where we discovered some really nice looking chocolate, of course also salmiakki and Inka always translated the ingredients for us. After that we talked about some German Christmas words and I also learned “Hyvää Joulua” which means “Merry X-Mas”.
At the end I asked Inka about the 6th of December which is a national holiday, where Finnish people celebrate their independence. She explained us that on this day every Finnish person watches how the president greets a lot of celebrities, politicians and other important people and they have a kind of a party on TV.
To sum it up I have to say that we had a really nice meeting, where I learned a lot of things about the Finnish culture and Christmas traditions, but could also pass my German Christmas traditions to Inka.