Are you staying in Oulu for Christmas?

Are you staying in Oulu for Christmas and you have no idea what to expect during your winter break? If your answer is yes, then this blog entry is worth your time to read it. It is important to mention that this article is written by international students who have stayed in Finland during the winter season at least once. Therefore we have some idea what you will face during this time of the year. Hopefully these suggestions will give you some good ideas and you can use them before the year is over.

Let’s face it, winter break is the best time of the year to have charity time with your family and have good time with them. But for some of the ”unlucky” international students who, by any cause, could not pay the air ticket back home, they will not have the chance to meet their family this time. We use the word unlucky not because Finland is a terrible place to be. But let’s be honest, being with the people you love and they love you back is the best.

Maybe at this point you will start thinking about your mom’s delicious food, your father good company and even your annoying brother or sister. But that’s not the point of the blog entry. The point we are trying to reach is that this is a unique chance in your life that you will live something totally different to your traditional vacations at home. So just read the rest and enjoy the new experiences you will have after the last school day.

Finnish Christmas

The Finnish Christmas comes in with different styles and especially with lot of delicacies, back home we celebrate Christmas on 25th with all our family members, but here you wanna enjoy the Christmas dinner which is always celebrated on the Christmas Eve, December 24th.  With the Finnish families and friends you gather together and share lot of fun, warm festive atmosphere in the evening and then enjoying the diversified Finnish tradition Christmas dishes.

There were three most essential dishes on the table and these were an oven-baked ham, ”rutabaga casserole” and mixed beet root salad.  The order of the order was ”Without the taste of these traditional dishes, there would be something missing in our Finnish Christmas celebration”.  

During my time with one of the Finnish family in Oulu, the other dishes served were liver, meat, smoked salmon, fish fillets, some other local vegetables and sweet pea sauce. This made me feel at home and thus as an international student you will really feel back home, too, and cared for!!

Hey, not forgetting the sauna and taking beer while warming our bodies.

A lot of Finnish and international people visit their families, and some families are good enough even to invite international students to spend the Christmas Eve with them.

Where is the turkey?

Christmas and New Year’s Day are the celebrations that you enjoy the most with your family. I mean, everybody loves their home cuisine prepared by their families with love and tasty ingredients. After thinking about that, you will start feeling homesick and you will try to come up with a crazy plan in order to be with your family during this dates. But to be honest, this will never happen, only in those Hollywood movies.

 Anyways, why not make your own Christmas and New Year dinner like your parents does. It’s the time of the year to give your best to impress your friends about your culinary skills. And in case you do not have any of these techniques, like me, it is time to learn a new recipe and enjoy the moment with your friends. It does not have to be as good and complicated as a dish from a fancy restaurant. You can still prepare something that is easy to prepare and taste good, like some salads or soups.

At the same time you can take advantage of this event by learning from other cultures and their home country cuisine. You can arrange with your friends that each of them have to prepare a traditional dish they love can cook. This way you will try new dishes that will expand your culinary and cultural knowledge.

Let’s visit Santa Claus

Not forgetting diversified tours and trips across Oulu region, if your pocket is such away deep then you will really have lot of fun. Last year with my 5 friends we visited Rovaniemi and spent 2 nights at the Santa Claus village tourist center, we had the chance to take lot of photos with the Santa Claus and visited many others places in the city.                                

Written by Kevin Mendez, Mexico and John Munyoro, Kenya

Students in the Degree Programme in Business Information Technology

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