Celebrate Christmas The Finnish Way-Sauna on Christmas Eve

Finland Sauna Christmas StampThough no one knows exactly when the first saunas in Finland were made, the earliest saunas were probably simple holes in the ground, as can be guessed from the etymology of “sauna”. The word means a hole or a foxhole, which is heated up.

According to researcher Juha Nirkko from the Finnish Literature Society, sauna has been a church, a pharmacy, a bathing place and social room, among other things, for Finns. Its popularity is of course also related to the cold climate of Finland, where such a method for warming up comes in handy.

Sauna also forms an integral part of Finnish Christmas celebrations. Traditionally this was a time to rest, eat well and purify oneself. In Finland sauna has been the method of choice for such cleansing, which was especially important on Christmas Eve.

According to Nirkko, it is preferable to have sauna in the afternoon of the Eve, as household members should bathe before the spirits. Observing such an order is important not to incur the wrath of the dead.  Indeed, in Finnish tradition elves, gnomes and dead family members have all been given their own turn for taking Sauna.

Other old traditions include throwing beer on the sauna stove in order to help bring about a good harvest in the following year. Spells and prayers were also said in sauna to achieve spiritual purification along with physical cleanliness.

Nirkko published a book on sauna and its traditions earlier this year. Alas, it’s in Finnish with no translation. Find out more abut Christmas Sauna Traditions with this new entry for your Kindle.

A Christmas sauna is a long and loved tradition for Finns. In “Christmas Sauna Traditions” read all about a traditional Christmas sauna, savour some recipes (including sauna baked apples!), explore how to make a sauna whisk, ice candles and sauna potpourri, and learn about the written (and unwritten!) rules of the sauna.
 
Borrow a tradition from the Finns and make a sauna your Christmas Eve tradition.
 
The Good Sweat Starts with a Finnleo Sauna from Olympic Hot Tub

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