2012-12-04 — /travelprnews.com/ — Joulupukki was the last passenger to disembark from the Finnair Airbus A 320, to be welcomed by an excited crowd of lucky children from a kindergarten in Vecsés.
It was precisely 11:00 a.m. when Santa Claus, or Joulupukki to be more precise, arrived in Budapest on board a scheduled Finnair flight. The Finnish Santa Claus arrived in the Hungarian capital as a result of cooperation between Finnair, Budapest Airport, Malév Ground Handling, Finnagora and the Hotel Le Meridien Budapest.
Joulupukki was the last passenger to disembark from the Finnair Airbus A 320, to be welcomed by an excited crowd of lucky children from a kindergarten in Vecsés. Pasi Tuominen, the Finnish ambassador accredited to Budapest, was the first to greet the bearded, bespectacled Santa Claus on the concrete. The children from Vecsés sang a song for Joulupukki, having learnt how to pronounce his Finnish name correctly.
The Finnish Santa Claus’s visit to Budapest was supported by Finnish culture and science institute Finnagora, the Finnish Embassy and the Le Meridien Budapest. Joulupukki was due to visit Veszprém and Ajka (the twin towns of Rovaniemi, where he lives) today and tomorrow, before making an appearance at the main square in Óbuda on Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. On Monday and Tuesday he will be in Pécs and Mohács before returning to Budapest on Wednesday to meet children from District VIII in front of the National Museum. On 6 December, which is Santa Claus Day in Hungary, he will visit the Christmas market at Vörösmarty Square at 3:00 p.m. and the Vajdahunyad Castle the next day between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. On 8 December he will travel to Debrecen, before returning to Finland the day after.
It seems Joulupukki not only speaks the language of children, since he held an improvised press conference for the Hungarian media on the concrete next to the aircraft, followed by a photography session with the children and the Finnair crew. The Le Meridien Budapest will serve as Joulupukki’s home for a week, and also organized a Finnish gastronomy week to coincide with his visit.
Joulupukki, the Finnish Santa Claus, lives in a giant log house in the middle of a pine forest near the city of Rovaniemi, in the far North of Finland. He exchanges such a large number of letters with children from all parts of the world that the Finnish postal service established a separate post office for him, having found it difficult to forward so many envelopes. In the old days, he used to travel around the world in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, but nowadays he has upgraded to a Finnair Airbus A 320, whereby he is able to distribute his presents to children faster, and also there is less draft at cruising altitude.