Have a hyvää joulua!
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
Next week, Joulupukki will visit the Clair Nelson Center in Finland.
He’s the Finnish version of Santa Claus, but instead of being accompanied by reindeer, his travel companion is usually a goat. And instead of sliding down chimneys in the dead of night, he knocks on doors on Christmas Eve and asks if there are any well-behaved children home.
The Finland Minnesota Historical Society has brought a few versions of Joulupukki to its annual Pikkujoulu festival, each with his own personality.
“They always add a few of their own ditties to make it funny,” said Bonnie Tikkanen, the historical society president.
Pikkujoulu translates to little Christmas. Its roots are in the 1800s, but it gained popularity in Finland during the 1920s and ‘30s. It’s a pre-Christmas party that kicks off the holiday season with some good food and entertainment.
“Folks love getting together for one of the first Christmas celebrations of the season,” Tikkanen said.
In addition to the visit from Joulupukki, guests can expect hors d’oeuvres, a potluck supper and Christmas tunes from the Silver Bay band Fish Soup. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun, Tikkanen said; just bring a dish to share.
The hors d’oeuvres start at 5:30 p.m. and dinner is at 6 p.m. in the Clair Nelson Center in Finland.
Want to find a Finnish Christmas dish to bring to the celebration? Go to finland.fi and search Christmas cookbook.