Thursday, December 9, 2010

'Pikkujoulu' Finnish Heritage Museum celebrating ties that bind

Pikkujoulu.  It's an innocuous enough term, literally meaning ' little Christmas', that evokes the smells, sights and sounds of this special time of year.  As a retired foreign language teacher, I am familiar with the many European holiday traditions.  Christkindlesmarkt, tree trimming, stollen  and yes, even the images of Dickenesque rosy-cheeked carollers singing in the London streets come to mind.  Today I share with you a bit of the internationality that comes naturally in Fairport Harbor, Ohio.

On Saturday, December 11th, the Finnish Heritage Museum will be hosting its annual holiday event.  The event is being held at the Zion Lutheran Church on Eagle Street in Fairport Harbor.  Pikkujoulu means 'little Christmas' and to celebrate it, a traditional gathering will be held.  At this program, the society will also honor another Holiday, the 93rd anniversary of Finland's independence, which occurred on December 6th.

As mentioned, the pikkujoulu tradition has strong roots in Finland, originating in Sweden and Germany in the eighteen hundreds.  A look back in Finnish history will depict events that span many thousands of years.  However, starting with the early settlers in the 13-14th centuries, the Finns were ruled in part by Swedes and Russians for nearly 600 years.  By 1809, wars had left Finland entirely under the rule of Russia.  Despite Russian Rule and Duchy status, Finland achieved autocratic status and secured its total independence on 6, December, 1917.  A tribute to both of these Finnish holidays will play out here and abroad in much the same way.

A traditional gathering and 'Tervetuloa' will be held and culinary specialties shared.  Glogg, a festive non-alcoholic beverage will be served.  Kauneimmat Jouluaulut ( beautiful Christmas songs ) will be sung.  'Tippi' dancers will provide entertainment.  Children dressed as elves might even appear and sing the song 'Tonttujen Jouluyo'.  And while the song is sung, the Finnish elves may sneak out of their holes, tip toe around town, go into the homes and eat the food of their ancestral expatriates as tradition dictates.  At 1pm this Saturday, those in attendance at the Zion Lutheran Church will celebrate two cultural holiday events that have ties that bind across all generations.

" Finnish pride is on display every day of the year, but Independence Day, just like the US Fourth of July, carries significant meaning for all Finns... "    Lasse Hiltunen   President-elect  FHM

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