And…it’s back to Finnish lore. I think I first heard about Nuuttipukki (it’s impossible for me to write Nuuttipukki without referring back to Google search to make sure I’ve got it right.) when a member of the Folk Horror Revival Group (Not in? Come join! It’s the best place on the internet!) posted some fabulous photos of the costume she’d made inspired by the Finnish wild man of winter, and I couldn’t jot his name down on my Darkest Days list fast enough.
I’ve felt quite stuck with writing about Nuuttipukki, like I was with Louhi, partly because I wasn’t able to get the sheer volume of research material that I’d have liked to.
What I have found out though is that, on the twentieth day of Yule, a young man would dress up in a fur jacket, goat horns and birch bark, leather or sheepskin mask. Then, along with a gang of masked companions, would rampage around the village, going from door to door, demanding left over Yule food and alcohol. Those who wouldn’t provide would be punished. Though I guess it was rare the Nuutipukki was denied, as it was thought the creature would scare off the spirits of the dead. While it used to be something of an unsettling affair, nowadays the Nuuttipukki is portrayed by children and encounters tend to be ‘happy ones.’
On the blog Daughter Of The Jaded Era – the most useful blog for my research – blogger Jade wrote that up until the 1940s, the character of Santa resembled Nuuttipukki, and it’s thought that he’s perhaps the ‘very most original Santa Claus.’