Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas everyone!

So there is my another Christmas in Finland but this time there is no snow AT ALL! I would call it 'the green Christmas'. According to our neighbour Christmas without snow in Finland is called 'the black Christmas'.
Sounds scary but it's about darkness, the shortest days in year are really dark without snow. I enclose two photos taken in our yard: two from today and one from the last year Christmas Eve. The difference is apparent:-) Have a Merry Christmas no matter white or green or black.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Independence Day vs. Santa Claus

Today, on December 6 Finland celebrates the Independence Day. In the evening as each year this time ca.2000 invited guests take part in the Presidential Independence Day reception (so called Linnan juhlat). It is broadcast live on the national television and is one of the most watched programs on the Finnish television. The event used to be held at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki but this year for the first time in Tampere at Tampere Hall.
So have a good Independence Day Finns! Enjoy watching the presidential ball! 
6 December is widely celebrated in Poland as well but on another occasion. It is feast of Saint Nicholas, who died on 6 December 343. Saint Nicholas (Nikolaos) was bishop of Myra.
His hometown Demre nowadays belongs to Turkey. Saint Nicholas is a patron saint of children and is celebrated by giving gifts to children. In Poland and some other European countries it happens on 6 December. In many countries Santa Claus comes on Christmas, in Poland he comes twice:-)
Polish children cannot see Santa Claus as he comes in the night when they sleep, and hides gifts under their pillows or in their shoes. So parents must be very careful while doing the Santa's job.
I remember well these magic mornings ... and today I just forgot the whole thing!
Fortunately there was no problem with my children. We live in Finland and my sons don't know this tradition as I don't keep it alive. I realize how much their national and cultural identity depends on me. They are half Finnish, half Polish and keeping in them this 'Polish part' is my responsibility.
In Poland forgetting this day would be impossible but we live here. I uphold many Polish traditions but this one I somehow missed.