Joulupukki – Santa Claus



クリスマス・イブが訪れるとき、ヨウルプッキはソリを引き出発します。トナカイ達はもちろん空を飛べる訳はなく、雪道をソリを引いていくのです。”良い子はいるかい?” (フィンランド語ではOnko taalla kiltteja lapsia?)といいながら、それぞれの家を訪れます。


ヨウルプッキの意味は「Yule Buck = ユール(クリスマス)のバック(男)」となります。Yule Buckは古い多神教・自然崇拝の伝統に存在し、ユール・バックは実際にヤギのような人間の形をした生き物で、長いひげをはやし二本足で立つ事ができます。Yule Buckの服装はグレーで今のサンタクロースが着ている赤い服に比べると全く目立ちません。

昔のYule Buckはプレゼントを与えたりする事はありませんでしたが、子供達に行儀よくするよう教えていました。しかし時が経つにつれ、ヨウルプッキのキャラクターはよりやさしくなり、今日のアメリカのサンタクロースに近づいていくのです。

姿形の怖いYule Buckから優しいヨウルプッキに変わったのは約100年前でした。そしてこの怖いYule Buckが優しくなっていくにつれて、次第にフィンランドの学校に受け入れられるようになります。ヨウルプッキはフィンランドの雑誌や新聞に登場する事となり、急速にヨウルプッキの伝説はフィンランドの子供達の記憶にとどまり始めます。





The Finnish Joulupukki (Santa Claus) is an old gentleman with a white beard who works all-year-round to give a very merry Christmas to all of the children around the world. Joulupukki wears warm red clothes, and uses a walking stick. Joulupukki lives in Mountain Korvatunturi with his wife, Joulumuori (Old Lady Christmas), and with hundreds and hundreds of Joulutonttu (elves, Joulupukki’s helpers) and his reindeers. One of the differences between the Finnish Joulupukki and his American cousin Santa Claus is that Joulupukki lives in Korvatunturi, whereas Santa Claus is known to be living in North Pole. No one can remember exactly how Joulupukki first came to Korvatunturi, or how old he is.

When Christmas Eve comes, Joulupukki pulls his sleigh, and gets on his way. Joulupukki’s reindeers cannot fly on the sky – they just pull the sleigh on regular roads.  “Onko taalla kiltteja lapsia?” (“Are there any good children here?”) he asks, as he enters the door of each household.

Joulupukki is therefore different from the American Santa Claus in a way that he actually knocks the door and visits families in person, while Santa Claus travels at night on the sky and drops the presents down the chimney. When Joulupukki arrives, the Finnish children sit on his lap and sing Christmas songs to him. Then the children help Joulupukki to distribute the presents.

The name Joulupukki means ‘Yule Buck’. The ’Yule Buck’ tradition was originally a pagan tradition, where ‘Yule Buck’ was actually a goat-like male creature that was standing on two feet and wore a long beard. ‘Yule Buck’s clothes were grey and much more humble than the great bright-red costume that today’s Joulupukki wears. The earliest ’Yule Buck’ didn’t give gifts to children but just demanded their good behavior instead. The ‘Yule Buck’ used to frighten people. But somehow this earliest form of Joulupukki transformed into a much kinder, gentler character that closely resembles the American Santa Claus of today.

The transformation from the scary ‘Yule Buck’ into the kind-hearted Joulupukki started about 100 years ago in Finland. As the ‘Yule Buck’ grew kinder and gentler in character, he was soon welcomed into Finnish schools. Joulupukki started to appear in Finnish magazines and newspapers, too, and quite rapidly the Joulupukki legend became imprinted into Finnish kids memories. After the second world war, the Finnish Joulupukki got its’ current outfit and appearance with gorgeous red clothes, red pointed hat, and a long beard that closely resembles the appearance of his American cousin, Santa Claus’ appearance.

Sources: Mauri Kunnas: Santa Claus. Wikipedia. Tunturisuden joulusivut.