Christmas in Lapland
Christmas time in Lapland is very beautiful because of the white snow and the Northern Lights. Around that time there are also lots of tourists here in Lapland. At Christmas people spend time at home with their family and relatives, eating ham and other Christmas dishes, such as swede and carrot casseroles.
On Christmas Eve Santa Claus usually arrives after we have had dinner and bathed in the sauna – at least in my family. This Christmas was quite different from other Christmases I’ve had. I spent my Christmas with my dad and my older brother. Usually we have a lot of relatives over on Christmas but now there was only the three of us. But Christmas went great and silently. In my opinion the best thing about Christmas is the food.
Independence Day, the sixth of December
Finland became independent on the 6th of December 1917. Independence Day isn’t just an official bank holiday, but an important day to us Finns and we celebrate this day with many festive traditions. Two blue-and-white candles are lit on almost every windowsill and families visit the graves of their deceased relatives and friends. There is also a service at the church and an annual Independence Day parade, organized by our armed forces.
In the evening it’s customary to watch the President’s reception in the Presidential castle. Our president with her spouse shakes hands with all the guests (approximately 2000 people are invited). Among the guests there are celebrities, politicians, diplomats, and influential people of the business world, athletes, musicians, artists and designers. Our war veterans are guests of honours at the reception, of course. The ladies’ dresses arouse great interest among the public and there’s always debate about the most beautiful gown of the evening in the papers- this year the dress of our Minister of Culture, Tanja Karpela, was one of the most popular outfits. All kinds of minor mishaps and unflattering choices in clothing can also become the topic of the day. However, it is important to us to remember, why we actually celebrate our Independence Day: Finland paid a great price for our independence and the sixth of December is the day to show our respect and gratitude to those, who fought wars for us and suffered to keep our freedom.
A summary of short essays by our first-year-students