Marinel, Lucia for Foreigners in Finland

Marinel from the Philippines is chosen for our first Lucia for Foreigners in Finland online magazine. The Lucia celebration is an important tradition in Finland. Lucia brings light and hope to families that are in need.

Foreigners in Finland Santa Lucia
Photo by Juha Roisko

Marinel is an 18 years old student. She studies in a vocational school as a cosmetologist. She was born in Finland to Filipino parents.



1.When did you participate in the Santa Lucia voting?

In 5th grade, the whole class was interested in becoming Lucia. We went to every classroom and gave cookies to our classmates. It was fun, lovely and the girls were beautiful.

2.What motivated you to participate in the Santa Lucia ceremony?

One does not have to be Finnish for participating in Santa Lucia voting. It was nice and beautiful. I had a lot of support from teachers and friends when I wanted to become Santa Lucia.


3.What message do you want to pass to young people?

It might be hard at first, but it gets better, don’t feel down if any ignorant person is against you. In the end, what matters is you, your opinion, what you think inside matters.


4.What are your words of hope for the future of the young generation?

It is ok not to know what you want to do in the future at first. We are young and have opportunities to make choices and changes. For example, I studied technical design, but then I realized that I was not too fond of it and wanted to change. My parents supported me in making the change. My mother helped me to do the shift in vocational school and was supportive. Don’t let other people choose your future. Watch opportunities, try everything good which you like and want.


5.Is the Finnish system supportive?

Yes, very great and nice. The teachers are very supportive; they care about young people and their present and future. There are also special teachers in schools who are great and give much help and attention to the students.


6.How do you like Finland?

I like my life in Finland. I want to live here in Finland, but travel around Europe too. I go to the Philippines every two years to keep in contact with my family there also. I like the seasons in Finland, the forest, nature, and the environment and care about them.


Lucia for Foreigners in Finland


Every year, we hope that we crown our very own Lucia to light the paths of young foreigners and their families adapting and integrating to the new home country. Bring warmth and joy to those at cultural crossroads and hope for their success in Finland and everywhere they go.




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