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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Finland Series at FinnishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Finnish holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 18, Little Christmas. In Finnish, it’s called pikkujoulu.
Little Christmas, which in Finnish is usually referred to using the plural form of pikkujoulut, meaning “Christmas parties,” is a free-form, Christmas-themed celebration organized by companies, associations, and communities before Christmas. In this lesson, we will learn all about how the Finnish celebrate Christmas parties!
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know how almonds, or manteli in Finnish, are related to Little Christmas?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
During Little Christmas, people prepare their mindset for the upcoming Christmas season. The actual arrangement of Little Christmas parties began to happen in Finland in the 1930s, when Little Christmas parties celebrated by students started to spread to other communities.
Little Christmases spent at homes derive from an old custom where, on the Day of Thomas, or Tuomaan päivä in Finnish, on December 21, one could start savoring home-brewed beer that was made especially during Christmas time. Originally, Little Christmas was a rather innocent party, but since the liberation of drinking habits in the 1960s, alcoholic beverages have become an integral part of modern Little Christmas celebrations.
Little Christmas parties are celebrated in all kinds of communities, such as workplaces, associations, schools, and daycare centers, as well as hobby circles. Little Christmas parties have an important role, especially in workplaces. It has been customary for companies' management teams to thank their employees for their toil during the year at Little Christmas parties, and they also serve as a way to further enhance team building.
Christmas dishes traditionally tasted for the first time at Little Christmas parties, include dishes like rice pudding, or riisipuuroa, ginger breads, or piparkakkuja, Christmas tarts, or joulutorttuja and mulled wine, or glögi. Mulled Wine, or "glögi," is an alcoholic, flavored drink which typically uses a base of red wine, spiced with cloves, cinnamon, and ginger.
Singing joyful Christmas carols, dancing, playing Christmas games, and Santa's visit with his Little Christmas gifts, or pikkujoululahjat, are must-have moments on the program for Little Christmas parties. Attendees of the parties usually bring a small, anonymous gift with them, which Santa Claus later distributes to the receivers in random order.
Little Christmas parties are celebrated as early as the end of October, so restaurant reservation lists can become full by as early as early autumn. Companies also celebrate Little Christmas by taking their employees to the theater, among other places.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know how almonds, or manteli in Finnish, are related to Little Christmas?
Little Christmas parties were previously known as the “porridge feast,” or puurojuhla, where the highlight of the night was eating Christmas porridge. An almond was hidden in the porridge, and whoever found it on their plate was said to be married soon. Nowadays, the almond is playfully believed to bring good luck to its discoverer.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you celebrate Little Christmas in your country?
Leave us a comment at FinnishPod101.com, and see you again in the next class!