December 20, 2016
2912 CHRISTMAS (Finland) - Joulutonttu
Long time ago, in pagan times, tonttu lived in the houses and barns of the farmsteads, and secretly acted as their guardian. If were treated well, they protected the family and animals from evil and misfortune, and even were helping to the chores and farm work. They were no taller than 90cm, had a long white beard, and were dressed in the traditional farmer garb, consisting of a pull-over woolen tunic belted at the waist and knee breeches with stockings. On the head, they wore a conical or knit cap in red or some other bright color.
In the same old days, Joulupukki (which literally means "Yule Goat") was a symbol of fertility and more a frightening figure, who demanded respect from children. He was clad in tight red leather pants and a tight fur trimmed red leather coat, wearing a mask and a pair of horns on his head. In nowadays, Joulupukki looks and behaves mostly like his American cousin, Santa Claus. He and his wife (Joulumuori) live and work in Korvatunturi, in Lapland, and his assistants are tonttu, or more precisely joulutonttu (joulu means Christmas), who hasn't changed much their appearance.
In the postcard is a joulutonttu, who wander at the homes of the children and notices if they are naughty or nice (therefore has a notepad in hand). The illustration belongs to Salli Parikka, a Finnish illustrator, graphic designer and visual artist, particularly known as an illustrator of children's books.
About the stamps
About the cross-shaped self-adhesives stamp I wrote here.
The second stamp was issued in 2001 to celebrate the Christmas.
Nisse (folklore) - Wikipedia
Joulupukki - Wikipedia
Sender: Johanna / joxjo (postcrossing) FI-2874926
Sent from Saariselkä / Inari (Lapland / Finland), on 13.12.2016
Illustration: Salli Parikka