Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Countdown Characters #20

A little Finnish surprise for you today.....
 T is for tonttu 
A tonttu ( or tomte in Swedish)  is a mythological creature from Scandinavian folklore today typically associated with the winter solstice and the Christmas season. It is generally described as being no taller than three feet, having a long white beard, and wearing a conical or knit cap in red or some other bright colour. They often have an appearance somewhat similar to that of a garden gnome.[1] from Wikipedia. 
In the past, in Finnish households  there were guardian spirits known as elves (tonttu) Each type of building had its own sort of elf.- household elves, sauna elves, stable elves, storehouse elves, barn elves and mill elves. When treated with respect, they brought good fortune, but if they took offence, there was no predicting the consequences. All commonly were active after nightfall,but individual tonttu were often notorious for their eccentricities. from  The Book of Finnish elves (Suomalainen tonttukirja
These days, Tonttu are Santa's little helpers. According to legend, these quick and cute
characters find out which children have been good by listening to conversations and writing down their findings in a huge notebook. When Christmas arrives, Joulupukki (Santa Claus) rewards the good children with gifts.

Tonttujen Jouluyö is a popular children’s song in Finland with a very catchy tune. It was once featured on an episode of Teletubbies. It relates story of the Tonttu, the elves who visit the house on Christmas Eve, dance, sing, and eat some of the goodies they find. The Tip Tap refers to the noise they make. As morning draws near, they scurry back to their homes under the bridge.

Soihdut sammuu, kaikki vaki nukkuu,
vaki nukkuu,
Oiten varjoon talon touhu hukkuu, touhu hukkuu.
Tip-tap, tip-tap, ti-pe ti-pe, tip-tap, tip, tip, tap.
Tonttujoukko silloin varpahillaan, varpahillaan,
Varovasti hiipii alta sillan, alta sillan.
Tip-tap, tip-tap, ti-pe ti-pe, tip-tap, tip, tip, tap.

Day is fading, night is slowly creeping, slowly creeping.
Lights go out as people start their sleeping, start their sleeping.
Tip-tap, tip-tap, ti-pe ti-pe, tip-tap, tip, tip, tap.
From their caves the elves come softly prancing, softly prancing.
From beneath their bridge on tiptoe dancing, tiptoe dancing.
Tip-tap, tip-tap, ti-pe ti-pe, tip-tap, tip, tip, tap.
Complete lyrics and translation can be found at You and Me Around Europe
Chrsitmas card by Eva Melhuish

 The Tonttu reflects the Finnish Christmas tradition's innermost being: whatever is linked to Christmas, Peace on Earth and Happiness among all People. The Tonttu is an important symbol for the Christmas celebration and its magic winter mood, not only in Finland but all over the world where  Scandanavian  Christmas traditions. are shared.   

Hyvää Joulua ja Onnellista Uutta Vuotta (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year) 

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