Finnish Christmas Celebrations: Advent
​On each Advent Sunday, a candle is lit to celebrate the occasion. It is traditional to light one candle on the first Sunday, two on the second, and finally four on the last Advent Sunday.

​The season of Advent is a Christian tradition of waiting and preparing for the celebration of Christmas. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which is at 27 November at its earliest and 3 December at its latest. On each Sunday, an Advent candle is lit to mark the occasion, which has its origins in the German Protestant church.

Before the more wide-spread Advent celebration, Christmas time in Finland has been thought to begin on 21 December, on Tuomaan päivä, and end on 7 January on Nuutin päivä. The name days of Tuomas and Nuutti used to mark the period of Christmas celebration, but Advent eventually replaced it.

According to University Lecturer in Folkloristics Pasi Enges, the celebration of Advent is a relatively new tradition in Finland. The tradition arrived in Finland from Sweden around the late 1800s, and it was first celebrated by the upper class in the cities.

– In the Finnish countryside, Christmas was not considered such an important holiday, unlike Easter and the harvest festival Kekri at the end of autumn which were the most important events of the year. The difference between the life in the cities and the countryside was great, and the traditions of Advent and Christmas mostly come from the upper-class celebrations, says Enges.

The life in the cities and countryside was also different due to the fact that the upper-class families were wealthier and could afford to celebrate Advent and Christmas, whereas the autumn harvest festival was the celebration of abundance at the countryside. Therefore, most of the Finnish Advent and Christmas traditions have their roots in the upper class celebrations.

Even though Advent is described as the time for repentance, it has become a celebration of happiness, joy, and sharing.

Jenni Maja

Published date 12/7/2017 2:30 PM ,  Modified date 12/13/2017 8:38 AM

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