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Annual Finnish Christmas event Dec. 10

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Iron Mountain Area Finnish-American group Raja Ryhma will host its annual Pikkujoulu “Little Christmas” on Saturday, Dec. 10, in the Antoine Room at Recreation Lanes in Iron Mountain.

The meet and greet begins at noon, with a catered lunch served at 1 p.m. The buffet, catered by Zollner’s, includes turkey, ham, twice-baked potatoes, three salads, glazed carrots, raspberry Jell-O, rolls, coffee, and dessert. Cost is $20 per person, $10 for children age 5 or younger.

Music for listening and dancing will be provided by Paula D.

Checks and reservations can be sent by Friday to Raja Ryhma, P.O. Box 565, Iron Mountain, MI 49801.

Pre-Christmas parties have long been a tradition in Finland with the aim of getting people in the holiday mood. The Finns decorate Christmas trees, wear Santa hats, use a lot of the color red in decor and clothing, and often have a straw goat for decoration. Parties are so popular they have become a big part of the economy.

Traditional foods usually served at Christmastime in Finland are casseroles made with root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and rutabagas; ham with mustard or applesauce; salmon; beetroot salad; rice porridge with a lucky almond hidden in it; and lemon mousse.

After dinner, Santa Claus — Joulupukki in the Finnish language — arrives and passes out gifts.

Later, the adults may have wine drinks, prune tarts and decorated gingerbread. Some may go to the sauna and then take a quick swim or cool off in the snow to end the evening.

Pikkujoulu is all about getting together with friends and family.

Everyone is welcome at this year’s Pre-Christmas party with Finns and friends.

For more information, call Karen Wertanen at 715-528-4744 or Arlene Huotari at 313-269-9452.

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