Doing life right, at home and away

Month: February 2018

Of Himmeli-tradition coming to life in Leipzig

“You have reveled my joys and mourned my sorrows, and you have always been there quiet and delicate, when I have needed to contemplate.” 

– Jalmari Sauli / Himmeli: Tales about the nature and children of nature (1928)

I’ve held two of my Himmeli-workshops now and it’s been an absolute wonder. I’m so happy and grateful for the heaps of people interested in Himmelis and Finnish crafts tradition. I did not expect it to be so well received. Furthermore, I’m absolutely impressed by the craft skills my students have had: crafts are definitely not dead! 🙂

And to any new readers: oh, what am I even talking about – what is a Himmeli? Why, it’s a traditional Finnish hanging mobilé ornament and holiday decoration, of course!

Himmelis are tokens, symbols and charms to ensure happiness, riches and a good harvest for the follow year. They were often hung above the dining table before Christmas and stayed out on display until Midsummer and even throughout the year.

Though the name of the ornament is of Germanic origin – in both Swedish and German “himmel” means “sky” or “heaven” – the Himmeli is undoubtedly considered the quintessential traditional Finnish Christmas (Yule) & holiday decoration. However, Himmelis are not strictly tied to any specific event or celebration, and the ornaments were also popular at wedding celebrations (hung above the head of the bride, a ”bride’s crown”), housewarming gifts, as well as decorating many a Midsummer. Last, but by no means least, they also hung above cribs to bless and soothe small children.

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Of Laskiaispulla & Shrove Tuesday – or Fasching

Laskiainen / Fasching / Shrove Tuesday is here! That can only mean one thing: Laskiaispulla, a novelty Finnish pulla delicacy. What is a “pulla”, you may ask? Why, pulla is a Finnish culinary staple: a baked bun.

For Shrove Tuesday (or Fasching, if you’re German), we make a special variety where the bun is cut in half, filled with raspberry jam or almond paste and decorated with whipped cream. It’s a top notch pulla, I tell you.

Finnish Laskiainen is not as wild as in other countries (like Mardi Gras or Karneval), but we Finns celebrate it in our own way. It’s customary to go sliding with the whole family and friends – and eat these buns, of course.

As there’s no snow in Germany, let’s focus on the buns 🙂

The recipe has three parts: making the buns, making the almond paste and then putting the buns together.

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