Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A traditional Finnish New Year's Eve

Like most countries, Finland also celebrates on New Year's Eve.  Beyond the typical drinking and late night parties, Finland has a specific custom practiced on New Year's eve which tries to predict the following year.  This involves melting down a tin horseshoe with a specialized ladle over the stove.   One places the small tin horseshoe in the spoon and then lifts it over the hot stove top.  Once the tin is melted, it is then dropped into a cold bucket of water where it will change from liquid to solid again.  It is any one's guess what shape will transform once the tin turns solid again and it is safe to say there will never be two identical ones.  This is the second New Year's eve our family has spent in Finland and the second time we have practiced this tradition.  We have uncovered shapes from the melted down tins, such as leaves, dragons and even a lady.  However, many times the shape is just a inanimate blob of melted down tin.  Let's just hope these are not exactly accurate predictions of the upcoming year.  :)



Unlike in the USA where fireworks are illegal in most States, fireworks are legal between certain hours on New Year's eve in Finland.  Anyone over 18 can purchase and light fireworks in Finland.  Our family typically buys a few packages of fireworks to shoot off .  Starting at about 6pm, until just after midnight is a constant cacophony of various fireworks.  We started the children off with some sparklers, which were followed by some actual rockets and roman candles.  Like myself in the middle of my childhood years, my children love to watch colorful rockets exploding in the sky.  Luckily with all the snow covering the ground, shooting off the rockets was a safe and enjoyable experience.



As in most Holidays in Finland, store and services are usually closed or have very limited hours.  New Year's eve was a short day for most business and New Years Day everything (including food stores) are closed.   In the USA, New Years Eve is a normal day and you can still find some store and restaurants open on New Years Day. Here's to a happy and prosperous 2013!


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