Finland celebrates, like many other countries, New Year’s Eve on 31 of December. In Helsinki, the mayor wishes everyone a happy New Year from the steps of the famous Helsinki Cathedral – Tuomiokirkko, where the bells ring in midnight with fireworks display, music, performers and traditional Finnish speeches. The Helsinki’s fireworks celebrations are also broadcast live by the national Finnish TV Broadcasting Company Yle. So, if the weather is too cold for you, it’s perfectly fine to stay home and toast for the new year with fireworks in the TV screen. Fireworks and firecrackers are traditions all over the world on New Year’s Eve. The purpose of this custom is to make noise to drive evil spirits away and bring light in the darkest time when we welcome in the new year.
New Year’s Eve has traditionally been the time for fortune telling and predicting the future, and some of the ancient magical tricks have remained till today as the casting of tin, uudenvuodentina. Melting tin is a New Year’s Finnish tradition which perform in other Nordic countries, in Germany, Switzerland and Austria (the source of this costume is from ancient Greece). Shops sells ladles in a shape of a horseshoe to be melted on the stove and poured into a bucket of cold water. The resulting shape is interpreted to predict the future event for the coming year. The shapes are translated literally and symbolically. For example, a shape of a coin or many small pieces means wealth, key means new house and a broken shape means misfortune.
Back in my home country, our New Year is in the autumn and the current year is 5778. The celebration is quite different and more traditional, but nowadays, many people (whose looking for a reason to celebrate) celebrate the Christian New Year, as a civil new year, that goes by the name Silvester. In Finland, the 31th of December is the name day of Sylvester. That’s because it’s the anniversary of the Saint’s Sylvester death, 31th of December, a date that, since the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, has considered as New Year’s Eve.
Hyvää uutta vuotta!
Written by: Dana
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