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Finnish New Year’s Traditions are Effortless and Fun

I don’t know who created the traditions of the Finnish New Year, but I’m pretty sure it was one very tired parent due to the Christmas hassle.

In my opinion, New Year is the most no-fuss occasion of the year, and I’d guess most people like it that way, I certainly do.

If you have the energy to make New Year’s Eve extra special, go for it. On the other hand, if you just want to low-key celebrate, it’s perfectly okay. I just love holidays like that.

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Universal New Year’s Traditions in Finland

Some of our New Year’s traditions are very similar to other countries. For example, staying up until 12 o’clock is almost a must also here in Finland. 

New Year’s Eve is the night when children are allowed to stay up as late as they can. Usually, they easily win the adults.

By the way, we have a funny expression for staying up late in Finnish. It’s “kukkua aamyöhön” which means “to cuckoo until the early hours”.

Another very universal New Year’s tradition in Finland is that we Finns make New Year’s resolutions.

I’d say most of those resolutions are everyday things, big and small. A rookie mistake is to make a too difficult resolution for yourself, and a Finn knows that.

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Five Effortless Finnish New Year’s Traditions

Without further ado, here are the five key elements of the Finnish New Year.

#1 New Year Dishes. Buy ready-made frankfurters, potato salad, French fries, and crisps. Destroy all left-over chocolate and candies from Christmas. Self-service all night for everybody!

#2 New Year Drinks. The drink menu includes sparkling wine for adults and soda for kids.

Merry Christmas and New Year Wishes in Finnish by Her Finland blog

#3 Traditional Fortune Telling. On New Year’s Eve, we Finns used to melt tin on the stove to see our future.

The tin was poured into a bucket of cold water, and the newly-formed tin lump predicted your fortune for next year. Most Finnish households even have a little frying pan dedicated only for the tin melting!

However, as tin has lead, this tradition was banned in 2018. I’m excitedly waiting can we come up with any eco-friendly substitutes for the tin because this tradition is so much fun. This year I think I will try beeswax.

#4 New Year Fireworks. New Year’s Eve is the only evening when fireworks are legal in Finland without a specific request. For volume control, all ages can use earmuffs.

Most cities and towns have a firework show to enjoy. Usually, it is already in the evening, not at 12 PM, so that families can enjoy the colorful sky.

Sparklers are popular with kids and adults alike on New Year’s Eve and make fantastic photos!

Finnish New Year Sparkler by Her Finland blog

#5 Going to a Bar (NOT this year, though). It’s super popular to hit a club or bar on the night of 31 December. Just remember to go early unless you know the bouncer. The queues are crazy long around and after 12 PM.

How do you celebrate New Year? What else would you like to know about the Finnish New Year? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for more information about the Finnish lifestyle and winter Finland? Check these other posts:

About Varpu
I’m the founder of Her Finland. I love cultural tidbits, aha moments, Finnish folklore, and cinnamon buns. My newest interest is learning bird songs. Read more about me..

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A Ttheron

Monday 5th of April 2021

Very informative and alluring

Varpu

Saturday 24th of April 2021

Thank you so much!

Andrea Campbell

Thursday 26th of December 2019

My Finnish grandmother used to bake a special cake which traditionally had 1 almond baked in it and whoever was lucky to get the slice with the almond was going to have good luck in the New Year, however, my grandmother never wanted to disappoint anyone so she put a handful of almonds in the cake so everyone would have good luck.

Varpu Pöyry

Friday 27th of December 2019

Oh Andrea, that's so funny and true to so many Finnish families I know, including my own. We do that same trick with rice porridge and almonds during Christmas. :D

Amy

Friday 28th of December 2018

We were already planning to melt beeswax for fortune-telling but I had no idea Finland had a similar tradition! I'm half-Finnish and am trying to incorporate more Finnish traditions into our family celebrations so my 4 year old can learn about them too. Your posts are so helpful!

Varpu Pöyry

Monday 31st of December 2018

Hi Amy! So great to know that you guys already use beeswax for fortune-telling! Thank you so much, I'm so happy to hear that you found my blog is helpful. <3

Pam

Monday 26th of November 2018

I would like to purchase horseshoe tin to melt for New Years. Where could I buy this from?

Varpu Pöyry

Wednesday 28th of November 2018

Hei Pam! This New Year will be completely different in Finland and I'm excited to see what it will be like! That's because New Year Tin became banned this March because it contains lead. You cannot find it anywhere in Finland now. Most likely, some new products will emerge, but I haven't seen any yet. Some are considering beeswax. I'll update this post when I know more!

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