santa claus

Photographer Raija Lehtonen/ Visit Finland/Finland Promotion Board

Gotta Joga is a Nordic yoga application. We’d love to share with you some secrets of Scandinavian Christmas. Christmas is called joulu in Finnish (jul in Swedish, Norwegian and Danish). In the pre-Christian times the there was a 3 day celebration in December as the days started getting longer again. The word hjul coming  from ancient Viking language meaning sun wheel.



Photo Maija Airas-Ceri / Gotta Joga


During the afternoon break we drink glögi (glögg) which is a spiced red juice with raisins and almonds floating in it (sometimes with a drop of alcohol) and eat gingerbread cookies (piparkakku, pepperkakor) or joulutähti (Christmas pastries) another sweet treat with plum marmelade.

joulupoyta christmas table

Photography / This is Finland /Finland Promotion Board


The main Christmas celebration takes place on the Christmas Eve the 24th of December when the whole family gathers to eat  around a table full of food (herrings, salmon, baked ham, rosolli salads, various casseroles, meatballs).

You can find delicious recipes to spice up your dinner table from:

Finnish Christmas Cookbook

I always do the gingerbread cookies with partially Finnish ingredients. My mom ships me the syrup and some spices from Finland so that they taste just right. In Germany I used to order the “gepöckelte schinken” from my butcher, but here in France I find some thing very close to the Finnish Christmas ham when wondering around the Les Halles de Lyon.

Before dinner a traditional joulu sauna is heated up for cleaning up and calming down for Christmas celebration.


santa claus finland joulupukki

Photography Maija Airas-Ceri/ Gotta Joga


Joulu is, above all , a celebration for the children.

According to the legend, Santa Claus lives in Lapland, on a mountain called Korvatunturi, just by the Russian border. One can visit Santa Claus at Rovaniemi, at Napapiiri, the Artic circle, any time of the year where he lives with his many reindeers and tonttus (dwarfs) who help him build and distribute the presents to the children. We always had to watch out our behaviour as a child as the tonttus were around and reporting to Santa Claus about the good and bads.

Meet Santa Claus

On Christmas Eve Santa Claus visits most of the Finnish families with children singing some Christmas carrols and distributing the presents.

christmas home Finland Hollola

Photography Maija Airas-Ceri / Gotta Joga

JOULU RAUHA (Christmas peace)

At midday December 24th the peace is declared in Turku, ancient capital of Finland. After that the whole country settles down for Christmas peace of 4 days.

The time is spent with family, eating, going to church, graveyears and maybe in winter activities like skiing or ice-skating. I often do some yoga or other home exercises to melt down the excess food and chocolate consumed while spending time with family, reading the new books in the corner of a couch and cabin fire.



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