Life in Finland is a little different than life anywhere else. This is doubly true around the holiday season, especially if you’re familiar with Finnish legends and lore.
In these stories, Santa Claus isn’t the holly, jolly fat man that we know and love. According to Finnish traditions, Santa Claus (or “Christmas Bock”) is more similar to the Devil than he is to any gift-giving saint.
In these pages from an old book of folk stories, you can see that the original Christmas Bock had horns like the Devil, and he wasn’t afraid to administer justice to naughty children.
The page on the left describes Bock as having the ability to take Christmas away. On the other side is a picture of Bock gathering food for the winter.
Bock also enjoys feasting on children and reindeer.
This turn-of-the-century photo depicts the old Finnish tradition of St. Knut’s Day.
St. Knut’s Day takes place around January 15 each year, and it is the time when Finnish families take down their holiday decorations. Groups of villagers dress as demonic goats and go from house to house demanding leftover food and alcohol. This tradition is still alive in parts of Finland, though it’s much less terrifying these days.
Judging by this information, Finland is the greatest place on Earth to celebrate Christmas. Excuse me while I look up some last-minute flights.