Duncan Royale

Duncan Royale Santa III



Duncan Royale Ukko

Item Sku: 12Yuko
In Finland there are two customs that have particular significance at Christmas the ‘Heaven’ and the family sauna. The Finnish ‘Heaven’ is made by suspending a large canopy of straw from the ceiling in the dining room. The children then attach stars made of paper or foil to it and with the light reflecting on them from the candles and the fireplace, it resembles a starlit sky. 

On Christmas Eve after the ‘Heaven’ is put up, the family makes their traditional visit to the sauna. This custom is centuries old, although the sauna itself is fairly new to North America. After the sauria, everyone gets dressed in their finest clothes and then gathers around the table under the ‘Heaven’ for a meal of porridge, fish and other dishes. 

Following supper, in many parts of Finland, the big moment for the children is the arrival of Ukko, the gift giver. He is also known as Old Ukko or Great Ukko. Originally one of the chief gods of the Finnish pantheon in pagan times, his title was ‘the ancient father who reigns in the heavens’. He was the god of the sky and the air who supported the world, gathered the clouds and made the rain fall. He had a special affection for the people of Finland and was invoked when all the other gods had been called on in vain. He gradually became the protector of the poor, the outcasts and children. 

Even after Christianity was accepted by the Finns, the memory of Ukko persisted. Today his role is seen primarily as the gift giver for the Christmas festival. He is described as an old man with a long, white moustache, but, uniquely, with no beard; possibly a Mongolian influence since the Slays were ancestors of the people of Finland. Ukko wears a white cap with blue bands and a red coat trimmed with fur. 

Ukko travels each Christmas from Lapland. In Finnish mythology, Lap/and, the Land of the North, was considered to be the Home Page of magical singers and enchanters. Ukko was the lord of this wondrous place and made his Home Page there, on a hill called Korvantunturi. 

Ukko travels from Lapland and on a sleigh guided by reindeer. Lapland is the original Home Page of the reindeer and Ukko is one of the first gift givers to be depicted using this means of transportation. Of course, eventually Santa Claus would have a team of eight reindeer. Ukko is also accompanied by as many as half a dozen Christmas elves who help to distribute the presents to the children.
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$350.00 / $175.00   12''