There are loads of things going on in Finnish culture when the nights get long and dark. The emphasis being on gathering of family and friends to bring in the light and warmth. Being in the way up North of the planet makes for a harsh winter and it's all about keeping up the spirit of things. Of course, gifts were made and exchanged and at least one of those gifts were either new boots or an article of clothing.
The whole season kicks off with Kekri. The last of the harvest is brought in and the hearth and home is literally scrubbed from top to bottom. A Kekri beast is fashioned with the last of the grain harvest and left out as an offering. There is a whole row of chores to complete before Christmas arrives including the care of the animals. They are feasted well and settled into warm barns. Unless you happen to be the sacrificial piglet, whom lives in the smoke house and is treated very well. As the season progresses there are gatherings of glogg parties until the actual day which had been declared a national day of peace. Most of the streets are empty on that day as everyone is quietly celebrating indoors with kith and kin..
Of course as I have been baking and making treats to go with the Holy Supper I have been leaving a bit of what I have made out for offering to the faeries. I hope they are happy with the little treats! As far as being able to leave my Holy Supper out all night, that's not doable in this house. It is guaranteed to be disturbed by little furry babies. Instead of leaving it out all night, I plan on opening the invitation for my ancestors to join the celebration and then leaving a meal in a place where it won't be gotten to overnight. I think I really want to make it a time where the living, dead and fae mingle to enjoy the season. As much as I like the eerie feeling and look of a feast sitting in the dead of night, the last time I did something like that the house was a disaster!
Blessed Holidays to you and yours. I hope that it is warm and bright!