Santa Claus of Finland
Santa Claus’ Message
Santa Claus wants to tell every child and adult of the world that
Remember to be nice!
The niceness means three different things:
1st You must behave nicely and be friendly and helpful.
2nd You must be good to yourself.
It means that it is good to develop yourself by studying,
exercising sports and having good hobbies, writing letters for example, and do other good things.
3rd You must respect the nature and its animals.
Kindness and peace are very important things to Santa Claus!
Santa Claus hopes that you will be kind and considerate
in the future.
He wants you to continue your good hobbies, too.
You see, every new day brings wonderful opportunities to those who work hard,
develop themselves and believe in their dreams!
One of Santa's dearest dreams is literacy worldwide so that every child can learn to read and
write in his/hers own language.
A True Story about Santa Claus in the 21st Century (History)
This is a true story as it is known in Finland and more and more all over the world.
Korvatunturi ("Ear Mountain")
As we are all aware, the genuine Santa Claus has always lived far, far away at Korvatunturi in Finnish Lapland. There he has his secret home and workshops as well as the gift store and many, many other buildings.
The extraordinary thing about this is that the road to Korvatunturi is only known by Santa Claus himself, his elves and of course his trusted reindeer. When looking at a map one can easily find the location of Korvatunturi (483 metres high).
Korvatunturi is a mysterious place where the elves can listen to the children as well as the adults to hear whether they are being nice or naughty. The elves listen carefully to everyone’s undertakings and write their observations into the huge notebooks. Generally they record only positive observations in the books, but if necessary they will also note down tantrums, grumbling and spiteful behaviour, which from time to time can accidentally happen. Especially before Christmas, the elves are known to move about the homes and in the neighbourhoods of children making close observations about children’s behaviour and their kindness.
Just before Christmas Santa Claus examines all the comments in the huge notebooks and carefully chooses delightful gifts for all the kind and good children. In the case there is a note of naughtiness, Santa Claus may also arrive with his disapproval. Happily in the past few years there have been fewer and fewer of these incidents because everyone has been so nice.
The Elves start their trips
There is a lot of magic in the northern polar night. The snow shines in the dark, candles are lit and fires are made in fireplaces. People begin to wait for Christmas and the first Christmas lights are lit in the homes. The great forests surrounding the dwellings are asleep under the thick blanket of snow.
Silence and darkness are prevailing in the southern slopes of Korvatunturi Mountain. The moonlight is flooding over the snow covering the rarely used track. The wind is decorating the surface of the snow with curls of loose snow dust. But all of the sudden the darkness is penetrated by lights and the cold air is filled with tinkle and jingle. The elves have set out on their expeditions to see the doings of the people at Christmas season. The numerous footmarks printed by the felt boots of the elves are soon covered: the gust throws snow over the tracks of the elves.
The elves have with them Christmas Peace and Christmas Atmosphere from Korvatunturi Mountain. This Christmas Peace and Atmosphere spreads with them to the villages and towns. - It may not be enough that the people put Christmas decorations in the windows and listen to the Christmas songs on the radio. A pinch of Christmas magic is needed to create the warm Christmas mood in the midst of hasty preparations. Although it is almost impossible to see the elves, you can feel their existence from the warm sense that you have in your heart, or from the tickling of joy that makes you smile and fills the people with benevolence.
In Finland Santa visits the homes of small children
Are you aware that in Finland, Santa’s home country, he personally delivers all the presents to nice children? As he arrives in the home he always asks the confirming question: "Are there any nice children here?" The children answer happily and often sing a song to Santa and promise to be good also the following year. Then Santa, with the help of the children reads out the names on the packages and gives the presents. In many other countries Santa Claus delivers the gifts to the children's homes during the night and in the morning the children find their presents, at that time Santa Claus is well on his way back to Korvatunturi.
The Santa Claus Village
Santa Claus lives with his helpers, the elves, at Korvatunturi. However, a long time ago he decided to meet and be with people also at other times of the year. Consequently, after many surveys, with the help of his good friends, he decided to build his own Village close to the town of Rovaniemi, at the point where the highway north crosses the magical Arctic Circle.
Santa Claus desired to have an International Airport close to his village, where visitors from all corners of the globe would easily be able to come and visit him. He also wished to have a town nearby, so that visitors would be able to stay and safely witness the northern way of life and nature with experienced guides. All these requirements have been fulfilled at the present location in Rovaniemi, at the Arctic Circle.
Santa Claus Village is situated 8 km north of Rovaniemi. The exact coordinates are 66º33’07” northern latitude and 25º50’51” eastern longitude in the northern polar circle.
Today, at the Santa Claus Village, Santa has his own building with his personal office and reception. By the way, Santa has brought a small collection of his many big books from Korvatunturi. The books may be admired in the shelves, but visitors cannot peek at the contents. That right is only reserved for Santa Claus and his elves.
The village has its own official Santa Claus' Post Office, which is perhaps the most impressive post office in the world. In addition he also has his own shopping centre where genuine gifts and other beautiful items are on offer. There you will also find coffee shops, restaurants and many different types of programme services. In winter the village has an exceptional atmosphere. The surroundings are covered by soft, white snow and the Christmas lights brighten the dark winter days.
Santa Claus Greeting Center is a very important partner because here Santa’s helpers take care of his correspondence.
SantaPark can also be found near Santa’s village. This is a magical grotto, where visitors can get an idea of how Santa Claus lives at Korvatunturi.
Other important facts
Santa Claus is extremely happy with his village; in fact he is to be found there every day of the year. You are welcome to visit him in all four seasons. It is true; Santa travels between Korvatunturi and his village by reindeer. Some lucky visitors have even observed him on his magical sleigh being pulled by his reindeer.
You ought to remember that on his "regular journey home" Santa uses his one-reindeer-sleigh or 'pulkka'. However, at Christmas time, the elves prepare his great sleigh and in order to pull the extensive load a large number of experienced reindeer are made ready for the important journey.
The earlier mentioned facts have made Rovaniemi into Santa Claus' official hometown. Yearly hundreds of thousands of travellers have made the voyage to visit Santa Claus and also to admire the beautiful winter landscape. In summer visitors can also experience the awe-inspiring midnight sun in Santa's home country. For instance, the supersonic Concorde was for almost 20 years a regular visitor at Santa's own Official Airport.
Santa Claus' close associates
In Lapland and throughout Finland there are a large number of both small and large companies and corporations, which work in close co-operation with Santa Claus.
Several of those to be mentioned are the national airline company, the national railway, many bus and taxi companies, IT-companies, telecommunication companies, programme services companies and many, many others. Some of the most important players include the national radio and TV stations and the media. Also to be found is Santatelevision.com, which produces a wide range of fun on the Internet. At Christmas the Rovaniemi theatre performs spectacles, folkdance groups assist Santa on many occasions and artists have also created several compositions related to Santa's life.
Near the Santa village and airport there is a genuine Santa Claus Technology Park, a building for high-tech companies, also Santa Claus Greeting Center is located there. Rovaniemi airport has been named as Santa's Official Airport within the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and in all official airport manuals.
In addition many educational institutes from pre-schools to the university work in co-operation with Santa Claus himself. The Rovaniemi Polytechnic had an official Santa Claus school, where the graduates became Santa's assistants and master of ceremonies. In some resort areas you can even find elf schools for children.
The regions municipalities and government organisations such as the Provincial Government stands by Santa Claus in his pursuit to spread the message of good tidings and in many other activities where Santa desires help. Rovaniemi Santa Claus Village
Lapland in Finland
Santa Claus lives in the Finnish Lapland as everybody knows. Finland has a high technology culture. The air is clear and the nature is very important element for the Finns. The description of Finland as the country of thousands lakes (nearly 200 000) and forests is well known.
Lapland is a very special land with four spectacular seasonal variations.
Winter is long and dark. There is always snow in Lapland in winter. The sun does not rise at all, it remains below the horizon. Bluish dark falls all over. The phenomenon is called kaamos and it is very beautiful and extraordinary to experience. The moon, stars and sometimes magnificent northern lights (Aurora Borealis) brighten the landscapeand the sky. The white snow excitingly reflects the light. The temperature can be even -20º C - -40º C. However, you can stay in open air for a long time to enjoy a sleigh ride or skiing in the forest. But remember that then you have to put on very warm winter clothes.
The Northern Lights
The northern lights are flaming in the sky. The trees in the woods are cracking in cold weather and there is electricity in the air. Is it a fire fox that is polishing his fur against the mountain and throwing flashing sparks on to the sky? Maybe it is Santa Claus who has lighted his great torch? But let us keep with the facts: those flames are greetings from Lady Sun who stays behind the horizon when it is the time of polar darkness.
They are magnificent, those lights. They are flaming in blue, red and green in the vault of heaven. Even the reindeer are packing in together to watch and wonder. The squirrels are sitting pressed to their tails, hares settle down on to their snow shoes and prick up their ears, little birds bury their toes into the feathers. A willow grouse, from her snow cave under the drifts, sticks out to see the wonderful show, too. All are looking at the spectacle without saying anything, in deep silence.
Spring blossoms and turns everything green very quickly after a long winter. The days become brighter. The sun comes out and the snow melts to water.
The midnight sun may be seen from 6 June to 7 July in Lapland. Really! The sun does not set at all. Special are the nightless nights as bright as the days. You can swim in rivers and lakes in summer. Fishing is a very popular hobby. The summer is quite short in Lapland but the temperature can be even +25º C. Little summer rains just freshen the nature and the air.
After a short summer comes autumn. Then nature blossoms into magnificent redish colours. It is a real experience to hike Lapland’s fells during the 'ruska' in September. In autumn you can pick cloudberries which are the Lappish traditional precious berries.
Naturally reindeer belong to Lapland. The reindeer are grey but you can see sometimes white reindeer, too. They have gorgeous antlers and they are very nice animals. The reindeer live mainly in Lapland's fells but sometimes you can see some of them near the Arctic Circle eating grey lichen. There are quite many reindeer farms in Lapland and couple of them are very near the Arctic Circle.
Christmas in Finland
Christmas is celebrated from 24th to 26th of December in Finland. Many Finnish people start to prepare Christmas already in November making Christmas decorations for their homes and for the Christmas tree. Also they bake gingerbread cookies and prune tarts. At the beginning of December already Christmas lights appear in the stores. Children count days to Christmas in December. Most of them have their own Christmas calendar with some great pictures of the Christmas theme or even some chocolates.
The Christmas tree is picked up from one’s own forest or bought from a tree seller for Christmas Eve. The Christmas tree is decorated together with the family members and the candles are lit. In Finland the Proclamation of Christmas Peace is declared on Christmas Eve at noon and after that people quieten down for Christmas in their homes.
Santa Claus visits homes
Santa Claus comes on Christmas Eve to the houses where there are little children. He wears a red coat, vest and linen shirt and warm boots. When he comes, he always asks:
”Are there any well-behaved children in this house?”
If you have been good during the whole year then Santa Claus brings some gifts.
Every Finnish child knows that Santa Claus can also bring some brushwood if they have not been good. According to tradition Santa Claus has never needed to bring any brushwood to anyone.
Singing Christmas carols, visiting the church and the cemetery and enjoying Christmas food and also Christmas Eve’s sauna belong to Christmas. The adults often reminisce their own childhood Christmases.
Christmas Eve day starts with a tasty rice porridge breakfast. Christmas gospel is read in many families. Later in the day families enjoy delicious Christmas dinner: oven baked ham or sometimes turkey with homemade mustard, fish, swede casserole, carrot casserole and potato casserole with a traditional cold Finnish salad.
Christmas day is spent with family but the next day, Boxing Day, it is customary to visit relatives and friends.
After Christmas, people start to look forward to New Year’s Eve. The Christmas tree is taken down on the Twelfth Day to mark the ending of Christmastide.
© Oy Santa Claus Greeting Center Ltd. Risto Huhtala 2009