Visit Finland - the home of Santa Claus. Everyone knows the home of Santa Claus is Finland. You can meet him on any day of the year, without any charge, only in Finland. Finland is also the home of Santa Claus' favourite animal, the reindeer. At the Arctic Circle, Santa Claus has a post office of his own and the world’s only Main Santa Post Office.
The Finnish Santa Claus receives by far the most letters from children around the world. The only real amusement park of Santa Claus, the SantaPark, is also situated in Finland and there are many people in Finland that have committed themselves to helping Santa Claus.
A Finnish Christmas can be experienced everywhere in Finland - a country 1160 kilometres in length and 540 kilometres in breadth.
Finnish Christmas embraces the wait for Christmas - the snow, the warmth and heat brought by real fire; the hunt for the Christmas tree and the moments spent decorating it; old-fashioned sleigh rides, reindeer- or dog-pulled sled rides, or modern snowmobiles; skiing, skating, bob-sledge or sled slides; the traditional Christmas dishes, the islanders’ tradition, Saint Lucy, the "tiernapojat" tradition, Christmas markets, the proclamation of Yuletide peace, Christmas church, Christmas carols and, of course, the visit of Santa Claus and the elfin games played especially in schools.
Finnish Christmas can be celebrated both in cities and traditionally in the countryside, and a foreign guest can pay a speedy visit to Santa Claus by plane or spend a pleasant Christmas at a hotel, and everything there between.
The most important thing is that each locality offers its own peculiarities and traditions for the visitor to see and experience. And, at Christmas, there reigns peace on earth and good will towards men. Lapland, the homeland of Santa Claus, is situated at the Arctic Circle.
Santa Claus, Lady Santa and the elves have time to relax in summer. This is when a lucky wanderer can see them angling or picking berries on the fells of Lapland. Sometimes Santa Claus has time for his favourite hobby, gold panning. He and his companions also go to the sauna and dare sometimes to dive into ice-cold lakewater after the intense heat of the sauna.
SantaPark is the world’s first amusement park all about Santa Claus, his elves and reindeer, and is situated at the Arctic Circle. The cave, built deep inside the Syväsenvaara fell in the Province of Rovaniemi, is open nearly all year round.
Yuletide peace is proclaimed in Turku at noon on 24 December (Christmas Eve). The concept of Yuletide peace was known as early as the 13th century in the realm to which Finland, too, belonged. The Finnish language was used in the proclamation for the first time in 1711. The wording of the modern proclamation is based on an edict from Queen Christine dating from the 1640’s. On the radio, the peace has been proclaimed in its modern form since 1935. It has been broadcast on television since 1983.
The welfare of all animals is close to Santa’s heart, not only that of his own reindeer. For instance, in the zoological park in Ranua, Christmas is always celebrated by the animals, too, and all the arctic animals of the zoo participate in the festivities from the lemmings to the lynxes. The bears, though, hibernate during the Yuletide season and cannot, unfortunately, take part in the Christmas party.
Santa Claus has a few reindeer-herding territories of his own in Lapland. Such are the Salla and SantaPark reindeer parks and the Vuotso reindeer village, in all of which the reindeer have the star role to play.
Population: 5.2 million
Area: 338,144 square km
Language: Finnish (92%) and Swedish (5.5%)
Information courtesy of the Finnish Tourist Board .
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