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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 9, Epiphany. In Finnish, it’s called loppiainen.
Epiphany is a Christian holiday that marks the end of the Christmas holidays, and is celebrated on the 6th of January. In this lesson, we will learn a little bit about how Epiphany is celebrated in Finland.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know how magic is associated with the Finnish Epiphany?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Epiphany is a Christian celebration even older than Christmas. It was established in the third century AD, when it was originally celebrated to mark the birth of baby Jesus. In the early Middle Ages however, The Three Magi, or itämaan tietäjät in Finnish, who came to pay tribute to the newborn Jesus became the subject of the celebration. The Finnish name 'loppiainen' is from the 1600s and refers to the end of Christmas time, because its root in the Finnish language comes from the word "to end", loppua.
Epiphany is a public holiday in Finland and shops are usually closed in recognition of it. On Epiphany, the Christmas tree, in Finnish joulukuusi, is taken out of the house according to tradition. On this day, many will eat Christmas dishes one final time, and provided that a gingerbread house, or piparkakkutalo in Finnish, was built for Christmas, it may be broken down and eaten as a part of Epiphany celebrations. Christmas decorations and Christmas lights are stripped away from houses and arranged back in their boxes to wait for the next Christmas.
A return to everyday life and food takes place on Epiphany. Therefore, the Finns have a lot of proverbs, or in Finnish sananlasku, associated with Epiphany and Christmas dishes, such as "When Epiphany flops, to the cup a cabbage plonks." This phrase describes how, in the olden days, an everyday food, in Finnish arkinen ruoka, would return to people’s dinner plates after Epiphany.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know how magic is associated with the Finnish Epiphany?
In the olden days, the weather for the following year was predicted from the weather during Epiphany. This is told, for example, in the sayings "On Epiphany half of the winter snow has fallen" and "If during Epiphany, the snow covers the tracks of the mouse, there will be no lack of snow."
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you do anything special to recognize Epiphany in your country?
Leave us a comment at FinnishPod101.com, and see you again in the next class!