The word “Joulu” originates from the ancient Germanic name of the winter solstice celebration (yule). Midwinter celebrations were already underway in the Iron Age, before Christianity gained a significant foothold in our latitudes. Christmas is a younger word, derived from the term ‘Cristes Maesse’. In my opinion, Joulu is a more beautiful name. Noël, used in many countries as a synonym for Joulu, comes from the words ‘dies natalis’, or ‘birthday’. Although Noël shares some similarities with Joulu, its etymology is again different.
Joulu is celebrated in many ways in different countries, although Hollywood has, either unintentionally or for commercial reasons, sought to unify some traditions. However, Disney hasn’t yet been able to stuff the Finnish Santa Claus down the chimney! Markus “Uncle Markus” Rautio’s counterblow to globalization was also fantastic – in the 1920s, he taught the world that Santa Claus lives in Korvatunturi.
Regardless of the patchwork-quilt origin of Joulu, it’s clear that certain values have made their way into the holiday season worldwide. If a values workshop were held at Korvatunturi, the elves would perhaps arrive at the core values of peace, family, good food and tradition.
The Joulu holidays also mark the end of the year. This year has brought much grief and adversity for many. My feelings are contradictory, because for Chemigate, this has been a good year. And I don’t speak just of our financials, although those also give us a reason to be satisfied. Other good things have happened, too. Our work satisfaction survey told us that most of our staff feel that Chemigate is a good place to work. EcoVadis assessed our operations and recognized Chemigate’s corporate responsibility. Even our customers have rewarded us with increased sales. All of this has required a lot of work and some sacrifice from all of us.
So, let’s reward ourselves with a moment of peace. Each in their own style, and with respect to their own traditions.