Like each year, even this year saw Father Christmas doing his Jingle Bells act and riding his sleigh to gift tiny tots gifts that made their day, especially the under privileged who had a smile across their face. While many call the existence of Santa an urban legend, the world is also interestingly home to the Santa Claus village where a living and breathing Santa resides in Finland. History shows that Santa and his existence is 1749 years old. Santa’s village is definitely there. It is officially recognized as a Santa Claus Village in the world. This village is ‘Rovaniemi’ located in the Lapland area of Finland in the snow-covered Arctic Circle in remote Europe.
An official of the Santa Claus office is quoted in the media saying like every time on Christmas people from all over the world are coming to meet Santa. Thousands of people witness the moment Santa Claus begins his journey to travel the length and breadth of the globe with his sleigh with reindeers.
This year saw special decorations at Santa’s house. Amidst the singing of Christmas carols and lighting Christmas trees, Santa’s assistants keep themselves busy sending gifts to children around the world. It is believed in Finnish legends that Santa was born somewhere in 270 AD. In this village, Santa lives. Santa has an office and staff here and also has its official site. Santa responds to children’s letters throughout the year and also sends them gifts. The funny thing is that Santa only replies to the letters sent by post. Throughout the year, Santa receives more than 5 lakh letters from 200 countries in his main post office and answers most of them. According to the data, till now Santa has received about 2 crore letters in the past years.
Rovaniemi in Finland has a temperature of minus 5 degrees and Santa’s house is covered with snow throughout the year. There are many wooden huts in the village, one of which has a white long bearded Santa today, wearing the same red dress and hat which we see before Christmas. This house is also called the office of modern Santa, and he lives here with his wife. Here, when Santa comes out of the house, he brings smiles on the faces of the people who come and especially the children. Those arriving in Rovaniemi do not return without meeting this Santa. He can talk to them and take photographs for memorabilia. There is no charge to go into the house but a memorable photo with Santa has to pay a few euros.
On entering Santa’s house in Rovaniemi, everywhere letters are written in the name of Santa and gifts sent. A dozen strong staff manage the office affairs. People all over the world, especially children, send letters to Santa throughout the year and Santa only has two jobs. First, sending replies to letters from all over the world and second, overseeing the children’s toy workshop.
In this workshop, elves named Elfs make toys for children. The term elf was used in ancient legends for dwarves. These workshops make toys throughout the year, which are sent as gifts to children around the world at Christmas. Special attention is paid to the demand of children sending letters to Santa and asking for gifts from them. People also send their wishlists to Santa and one such longest list was found in the Guinness Book of Records in 2012 in which 75954 views were sent.
Another part of this village looks very special on Christmas. It is known as Santa Ice Park. It is only a short distance from the Santa office, but one has to pay a fee to roam here. Once an entry fee is paid, you can come and go several times a day. There are ice swings in one part of the park and ice houses in the other. Where people rest. A fire has also been arranged in another part of the park so that you can beat the cold here.
If you want to see the beauty of the whole village, then you have to ride the reindeer sleigh. There are also some parts of the village where its extremely cold, tea is given free to the people who go here. The reindeer sleigh is omnipresent in a traditional avatar in the village of Santa. Tourists have to pay some price for the ride.
The house can be reached if one reaches the capital of Finland, Helsinki. From here one can reach Rovaniemi City via flight. You can travel 8 km from Rovaniemi to Lapland by Santa Express. Which is available every hour. You can also take a taxi if you want.
Every year in the Leland, resembling the fairy city, the Ice Hotel is also located in the village of Santa. It is the world’s first ice-made hotel that is built every year. It is one of the special tourist places in Finland. It starts from December and tourists can come here till April. Everything from the room to the bar and church is of snow. The beauty and memories here do not get easily out of mind. It was first prepared in 1990, often with a temperature of minus 5 degrees.
Santa neither uses email nor answers anyone’s mobile calls. Santa meets only those who have reached his office directly.