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Joulupukki is a Finnish Christmas figure. The name "Joulupukki" literally means "Christmas goat" or "Yule Goat" in Finnish; the word pukki comes from the Teutonic root bock, which is a cognate of the English "buck", and means "billy-goat". An old Scandinavian custom, the figure eventually became more or less conflated with Santa Claus.
Origins and description
The Joulupukki is originally a pagan tradition. The Joulupukki may also be a man turned into a goat-man on Christmas Eve, as seen in Elsa Beskow's Peter and Lotta's Christmas. There persists today in some parts of Finland the custom of persons dressing in goat costume to perform in return for leftover food after Christmas. Historically, such a person was an older man, and the tradition refers to him as a nuuttipukki.
He usually wears warm red robes (but with a broad band of blue near the fur), uses a walking stick, and travels in a sleigh pulled by a number of reindeer, which cannot fly like Santa Claus's fleet. In Lapland, his mount is a pulkka rather than a sleigh. The popular holiday song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", in its Finnish translation, Petteri Punakuono, has led to Rudolph's general acceptance in Finland as Joulupukki's lead reindeer. Joulupukki is often mentioned as having a wife, Joulumuori ("Old Lady Christmas"), but tradition says little of her.
This section contains a list of miscellaneous information. (May 2017)
- The location of Joulupukki's workshop comes from a children's radio show called Markus-sedän lastentunti (Uncle Markus' Children's Hour) hosted by Markus Rautio and broadcast by the Finnish Broadcasting Company between years 1927–1956.
- Finland's Joulupukki receives over 500,000 letters from over 200 countries every year. Most letters come from China, Poland and Italy.
- Santa Claus' Main Post Office receives over 300,000 visitors from 180 countries every year.
- The US-based Coca-Cola Santa Claus was designed by the son of Finnish emigrants, Haddon Sundblom.
- Joulupukki is a prominent character in Rare Exports, a movie based on the award-winning shorts by Jalmari Helander.
Joulupukki's other side
Pagans used to have festivities to honour the return of the sun and some believe Joulupukki is the earliest form of present-day Santa. The Yule Goat was thought by some to be an ugly creature and frightened children while others believe it was an invisible creature that helped prepare for Yule.
Most theorists believe when Christianity began incorporating Pagan ways into their festivals in order to justify the action, they merged the Pagan figure with an already existing Catholic legend known as Saint Nicholas to create Santa Claus.
Popular radio programs from the year 1927 onwards probably had great influence in reformatting the concept with the Santa-like costume, reindeer and Korvatunturi as his dwelling place. Because there really are reindeer in Finland, and Finns live up North, the popular American cult took root in Finland very quickly.
- Section on Finland in Christmas worldwide
- Rare Exports (movie)
- Santa Claus Village
- Yule Goat
- Nordland, Rod (December 20, 2017). "Santa in Finland, Where Marketing Triumphs Over Geography". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 January 2018.