Finnish Christmas Pudding Tradition

A portrait from Finland

A family tradition of cinnamon pudding + peace declaration continues across borders, and despite the pandemic.


A Christmas Eve Tradition

About a million people tune in live to the Christmas Peace declaration each year on Christmas Eve, and many come to the square for the announcement, singing along after the declaration.

Growing up in Finland, Oskari has always watched along from home with his family, and they have a special tradition of making a festive pudding/porridge to enjoy as they watch:

We’ve enjoyed porridge with the declaration since before I can remember. The rice porridge is a Finnish Christmas staple, but I don’t know if all families make an effort to coincide it with the declaration of Christmas Peace or not. We certainly do. And there will be one single almond in the porridge pot, and whoever gets the almond in their serving is bestowed with great luck for the coming year, or something like that. I like traditions, less so superstitions.

Oskari, on his Christmas Porridge Traditions.

In 2019, with Christmas Eve being a regular business day in the UK (where Oskari currently calls home), along with the two hour time difference, they observed their tradition 26 hours later, via video, and it was just as sweet.

For the 2020 declaration however the public was not allowed to attend in person (due to the ongoing global pandemic, of course) so perhaps even more people will be enjoying cinnamon porridge while tuning in from home.


Joulurauhan Julistus 2020

The Declaration of Christmas Peace in Turku (the ancient capital of Finland) has a long history, reportedly read for the first time in 1320. It has continued with very few exceptions each year since, and from the very same place: the Old Great Square in Turku.

Joulurauhan Julistus 2020 – Christmas Peace Declaration 2020, no audience due to pandemic

“Tomorrow, God willing, is the graceful celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour;

and thus is declared a peaceful Christmas time to all, by advising devotion and to behave otherwise quietly and peacefully,

because he who breaks this peace and violates the peace of Christmas by any illegal or improper behaviour shall under aggravating circumstances be guilty and punished according to what the law and statutes prescribe for each and every offence separately.

Finally, a joyous Christmas feast is wished to all inhabitants of the city.”

English translation of the Joulurauhan Julistus, recited each year

Let’s also harken back to 2019, before the coronavirus gripped the world, and the audience was able to join the choir in singing the Finnish national anthem and the Navy band played marching music “Porilaisten Marssi.”

Joulurauhan Julistus 2019Christmas Peace Declaration 2019, with audience

If you are curious to learn more about the Joulurauhan Julistus and other Finnish traditions, this site is incredibly full of all things Finnish culture.


Christmas Pudding

We joined the festivities from here in Brooklyn Christmas Eve 2020, and we invite you to do the same!

finnish christmas pudding for the annual peace declaration on christmas eve
finnish christmas pudding for the annual peace declaration on christmas eve

The recipe for Finnish Christmas pudding is really simple. Here is Oskari’s telling in what he refers to as “quintessentially Finnish (= direct & unadorned) instructions,” with a dash of his own sarcastic wit:

1 part water, 1 part porridge rice, 5 parts whole milk, half teaspoon salt. Boil the rice until the water’s absorbed, then pour in the milk. Simmer for 45 minutes, while stirring frequently so the milk doesn’t burn in at the bottom. Slip in a single almond before serving, so whoever gets the portion with the almond in it, I dunno… wins Christmas, or something? Dust each serving with sugar and cinnamon in equal measure.

Recipe for Christmas Porridge

Hyvää Joulua! 

(Finnish greeting of “Good Christmas”)

finnish christmas pudding for the annual peace declaration on christmas eve
finnish christmas pudding w/ the 2019 peace declaration