Sharon OJanpa Mackey, FHM Staff Reporter


The Finnish Heritage Museum’s monthly meeting was held on the second Monday in November at the museum. Jane Hiltunen, museum historian, read the invocation. After welcoming visitors, President Lasse Hiltunen introduced the program for the evening – “Pukki Tales” written and presented by Lasse and Jovette Hiltunen. The part of Pukki was played by Lasse, Tonttu by Jovette.

Pukki is trying to teach Tonttu how Christmas came to be, and what it means. He starts by putting to rest the myth that Pukki has flying reindeer and that he goes down chimneys. In reality, he knocks on the front door and asks parents if their children have been good. Tonttu cannot believe that Pukki would talk to the parents. It didn’t seem fair to her.

Then Pukki further confused Tonttu by declaring that Joulupukki was a goat when all this gift giving started. Tonttu was now really confused. Pukki had to explain that, in Finnish mythology, the god of storms was Ukko, and Ukko raised goats. There was also a Norse God, Thor, who had the powers of lightning, thunder, storms, and fertility. Thor rode through the sky in his chariot, which was pulled by two goats. Most people believe that this is where the tale of Joulupukki as a goat comes from.

The goat gradually turned into a much more loving and giving person, who celebrated with families that shared a table with him.

“So, like this was fake news?” asked Tonttu.

Pukki did his best to ignore her. Instead, he continued with his history lesson.

In 1927, Markus Rautio, a Finnish radio broadcaster known as Uncle Marcus, supposedly declared on air that Santa’s workshop had been discovered in Korvatunturi. Thus was born the notion that Santa Claus lived in Finland.

Tonttu here interrupts Pukki by trying to show off how much she knows. She states that every year Pukki, wearing his red cloak, leaves his log cabin home in Rovaniemi, hitches white reindeer to his sleigh, and drives around the world. Rovaniemi, which is the largest town in Finnish Lapland, and is just south of the Arctic Circle, is home to Joulupukki. The reindeer are allowed to roam freely in all of Lapland.

Tonttu then complained to Pukki that she cannot sleep – there is no
time. She has to do all the work in order to get Joulupukki ready for his yearly trip. She has to make the toys, get the reindeer harnessed, check Pukki’s list, etc. etc. Tonttu thinks Pukki should at least give her a shout out of thanks.

Pukki tries to ignore Tonttu; he wants to focus on himself. A Finnish American illustrator named Haddon Sundblom loved the 1822 poem by Clement Moore, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” so much that he developed the Coca Cola interpretation of Santa. This is still the most popular rendition of Santa Claus.

It takes a lot of work and cooperation to get Joulupukki ready for his yearly rounds, and we are grateful to Tonttu for doing so much to help. In addition to all her above duties, she reminds Pukki that there is a weight limit on the sleigh.

“But I need more nisu to keep me going through the night,” Pukki says.

With that, Pukki and Tonttu exited right to continue their discussion about what Pukki should and shouldn’t eat, and who did more actual work to get ready for Christmas Eve.

Next, FHM’s own elves led the group in the singing of Joulupukki Valkopartaa. The elves are otherwise known as Paula Hern, Ailiin Andrews, Flora Tuisku, and Jane Hiltunen.

Refreshments for the evening were provided by Ailiin, Helen, Mary, Paula and Flora. Lasse opened the business meeting at approximately 8P.M.



Text © Sharon Mackey, 2017









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