Tag Archives: holiday

Dutch holidays and traditions

Our 5th meeting was on 7th of November and we met at cafe Siilinkari in Hämeenkatu. It was quiet when we went there which was perfect for the meeting. Our first meeting was at cafe Puisto with its delicious cakes and pastries but Siilinkari had really good cake too. My choice for the evening was some green tea and a ‘mokkapala’ which is a coffee flavoured chocolate cake, kind of like a brownie.


We discussed some Finnish and Dutch holidays and traditions. While many of the Finnish holidays don’t have much other traditions but drinking alcohol, the Dutch holidays seemed to be a lot more traditional and there are many holidays in a year that kids are excited about.


King’s Day 

King’s day is celebrated on the 27th of April and it’s a national holiday in the Netherlands. The date marks the birthday of the king. On King’s Day there are a lot of flea markets where people are selling their used items. There are also many big festivities like concerts and other outdoor events. On King’s Day people usually wear orange clothes and there are orange pastries and drinks and so on.


Liberation Day

Liberation Day is celebrated annually on the 5th of May. Liberation Day marks the end of the German occupation during World War II. On Liberation Day there are celebrations like parades and music festivals all around the Netherlands. It is a national holiday but it is a paid holiday only every 5th year.


Sint Maarten’s Day

Sint Maarten’s Day is celebrated every year on 11th of November. In the evening children go from door to door with self-made lanterns. They sing songs and receive candy in return. I had actually heard something about this tradition back when I was around 12 years old and I used to study German. It seemed to be quite similar with the German tradition. Sint Maarten’s Day is also similar to a Finnish tradition in the Palm Sunday when children dress up as witches and from door to door wishing good health with self-decorated osiers.



The festivities begin in mid-November when Sinterklaas arrives to the Netherlands. Sinterklaas arrives from Spain with a ship filled with presents to the children. Sinterklaas travels around the country and visits public places like schools and shopping centers. In the evening children put their shoes in front of the fire place with a carrot (for Sinterklaas’ horse) and sing a song so that Sinterklaas knows where to come. In the morning they will find candy and presents in their shoes. Common treats are small cookies called ‘pepernoten’ and chocolate letters. The children are told that bad children who don’t behave well are taken to Spain in a sack. The main event during Sinterklaas’ stay in the Netherlands takes place on 5th of December. On that day everyone receives presents. When children get older and no longer believe in Sinterklaas the tradition is that family members give each other presents in a similar way as in “Secret Santa”. Presents are packed in funny or unusual ways and given with a personal note that is often a humorous poem.


New Year’s Eve

The New Year’s Eve celebrations are quite similar in the Netherlands as in Finland and all around the world. Some traditional things for a Dutch New Year’s Eve are ‘oliebollen’ which are traditional Dutch doughnuts with raisin and a bonfire that is made of Christmas trees.


It was really nice getting to know all the different holidays and traditions there are in the Netherlands. Especially King’s Day sounds really interesting because I like flea markets a lot, maybe I will visit Netherlands at the end of April some year!

El Día de los Muertos

On the 3rd of November, our group had a gathering at Sofia’s place for El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which usually begins on October 31st till November 2nd. This is the day where Mexicans and other Spanish-speaking countries have a gathering with families, relatives and loved ones to remember those who passed away.

We brought pan dulce (sweet bread) and las velas (candles), as it is a tradition to offer them on the altar, together with other things that symbolizes fire, water, earth and wind – such as decorated paper, sugar skulls, favourite food/beverages of the deceased, as well as flowers (mainly marigolds). Not to forget, photos of the deceased are also placed on the altars.

El Día de los Muertos

Continue reading El Día de los Muertos

#8 – Christmas market in Tampere and the German holiday calendar

Recently, Joulutori opened in Tampere and of course we didn’t want to miss it, so our location for the 8th meeting was determined easily 🙂

I went to Joulutori on the opening day with another exchange student (Sanne who also did EOTO :D) and found out that there were some German stalls with German-speaking people and food there, so I decided to introduce them to my students.

Lebkuchennnnn 😀

I started our conversations in German only while we walked around and chatted with the stall owners (in German of course haha), so Maija and Kaisa joined and purchased some goods while talking in German, it was very funny because they had to turn everything into German so suddenly, but they did well! 🙂 There were Lebkuchen, Marzipan, gebrannte Mandeln and Krapfen/Quarkbällchen at Joulutori – pretty normal food you can find on any German Christmas market, well done! 😀 I bought some Quarkbällchen (that’s how we call them in the state where I come from but they actually have many different names that German people call them) and treated Maija and Kaisa to try them and they liked it, I’m so glad 😀

After walking around a lot we decided to sit down in a wooden house, drink some Glögi and talk about the German holiday calendar and compare it to the Finnish holidays. We found out that our calendars are pretty much the same with all the Christian holidays. Exceptions like Independence Day or Thanksgiving exist of course but talking about our different cultures was very interesting and fun 🙂 I learn so much about Finland and Finnish culture despite having this set up as a one-way learning/teaching group only, I like EOTO a lot because of this 😀

See you next time!