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北极圈旁的芬兰小镇,“官方圣诞老人”的故乡

更新时间:2017-12-24 10:07:30 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Santa in Finland, Where Marketing Triumphs Over Geography
北极圈旁的芬兰小镇,“官方圣诞老人”的故乡

ROVANIEMI, Finland —Here in Santa Claus Village, near the Arctic Circle, is the self-anointed “official Santa,” a Finn who refused to give his real name, insisting he was actually Mr. Claus.

芬兰罗瓦涅米——在位于北极圈附近的圣诞老人村里,一名拒绝透露真实姓名的芬兰人自封“官方圣诞老人”,并坚称自己是货真价实的“圣诞老人”。

A couple of hundred yards away in a competing venue is Second Santa, whose real name is Kari Eskeli, 65, also a Finn. As soon as Christmas is over, he goes back home to the warmth of the Spanish Canary Islands. “I can’t wait,” he chuckled at the end of a long recent day of receiving supplicants. “Ho ho ho.”

这里竞争激烈。几百码开外,就是第二圣诞老人(Second Santa)。他本名叫卡里·埃斯凯林(Kari Eskeli),65岁,也是芬兰人。圣诞节一结束,他就会回到西班牙加那利群岛温暖的家中。“我都等不及了,”不久前,他在接待祈求者的漫长一天结束时轻声笑着说。“呵呵呵。”

And then there’s Evil Santa, as he calls himself, an outspoken raconteur holding forth in his son’s busy souvenir shop just downstairs from official Santa’s grotto.

还有一个人自称邪恶圣诞老人(Evil Santa)。他为人坦率,善于讲故事,在他儿子繁忙的旅游纪念品商店里滔滔不绝。这家繁忙的商店就在官方的圣诞老人洞穴楼下。

“This place is exploding now, it’s really taking off,” said Wolfgang Kassik, an Austrian business consultant with a long gray, all-natural beard, who is married to a Finn. “Personally, though, I don’t like kids.”

“这个地方现在正在经历爆炸式的发展,真的腾飞了,”留着长长的纯天然白色胡子的奥地利商业顾问沃尔夫冈·卡西克(Wolfgang Kassik)说。他娶了一个芬兰人。“但我个人不喜欢小孩。”

That could be a problem.

这可能是个问题。

At this time of year around 20 airliners a day, chartered and scheduled, land here in the capital of Finnish Lapland, disgorging families from scores of countries, and bringing wide-eyed children to a reliably snowy place that is, for youngsters at least, a convincing recreation of the North Pole (which is actually 1,600 miles north), complete with reindeer-drawn sleighs, staff in elfin dress and an official Finnish government “Santa’s post office.”

每年这个时候,一天有大约20架次的包机和常规航班降落在芬兰拉普兰的首府,把来自许多国家的家庭和睁大眼睛的孩子带到一个名副其实的白雪王国。这里至少对孩子来说是毫无争议的北极乐园(北极实际上位于1600英里[约合2600公里]以北),配备了驯鹿雪橇、身着精灵服装的工作人员和一个官方芬兰政府“圣诞老人邮局”。

The dedicated Santa postal code of 96930 attracts half a million letters a year.

圣诞老人的专用邮编96930一年会收到50万封信。

While no more real than the Santa impersonators’ beards, Rovaniemi’s claim to be the base of the one and only true Santa is nonetheless a triumph of marketing, so much so that the town has trademarked its rubric, “The Official Hometown of Santa Claus. ®”

尽管和这些模仿圣诞老人的演员的胡子一样假,但罗瓦涅米自称是唯一的、真正的圣诞老人的基地,却是一次成功的营销,以至于这里已经把“官方认可的圣诞老人故乡”注册了商标。

And for those who fret about the growing secularization of Christmas — with each year more and more X, and less and less Christ — they need only drop in here to confirm some of their worst fears.

对于那些为圣诞节越来越世俗化——一年又一年,圣诞节被写成Xmas的情况越来越多,写成Christmas的情况越来越少(Christ意味基督,一些人通过这种方式来淡化圣诞节的宗教色彩——译注)——感到担忧的人,只需要来这里便能证实他们最担心的一些事情。

Rumor has it there is a crèche somewhere in Santa Claus Village, but finding it is a challenge.

有传言说,在圣诞老人村有一处基督诞生实景,但找到它是一个挑战。

Despite temperatures in the single digits Fahrenheit — and nights now 22 hours long — 330,000 people from 180 countries, according to current figures, come to visit Santa, purchase 50 euro ($60) photos with him and patronize the dozens of Christmas trinket shops.

尽管气温只有零下十几摄氏度,并且现在的黑夜时间长达22个小时,但当前数据显示,有来自180个国家的33万人来拜访圣诞老人,花50欧元(约合400元人民币)买下和他的合影,并光顾几十家圣诞节饰品店。

That nearly equals the combined total of reindeer (200,000) and people (180,000) in Lapland; tourism growth this year in Rovaniemi (population 50,000) is 25 percent, said Sanna Karkkainen, the managing director of Visit Rovaniemi, the tourist board. “We added 1,000 bed places just this Christmas season,” she said.

这几乎等于拉普兰的驯鹿 (20万)和人(18万)加起来的总和。旅游局“欢迎来到罗瓦涅米官方认可的圣诞老人故乡”的负责人桑娜·卡克凯南(Sanna Karkkainen)说,今年罗瓦涅米的旅游业增速25%。“仅今年圣诞季,我们增加了1000个床位,”她说。

Many of the tourists are neither Christians nor even from countries that celebrate Christmas. The largest single group of visitors are Chinese, who typically come without their children because there are no school holidays this time of year in China.

很多游客既不是基督徒,也不是来自庆祝圣诞节的国家。最大的游客群体是中国人,他们通常都没有带孩子,因为在一年里的这个时候,中国的学校不放假。

That does not stop them from getting in the lines at the Santa grottoes to meet the jolly old Finns who often play the role to the hilt.

这并不妨碍他们在圣诞老人的洞穴外排队,等着见那些快乐地、全力扮演圣诞老人的芬兰老人。

“What’s your real name?” many of the adult visitors ask official Santa, and he has a stock answer.

“你真名叫什么?”很多成年游客会问官方圣诞老人。他有准备好的答案。

“It’s Santa Claus.” If they still insist, “Your original name?” then he responds, ”Originally it was Joulupukki.”

“圣诞老人。”如果他们还坚持问,“你本名呢”,他就会说:“原来叫Joulupukki。”

Joulupukki is the name of Finns’ traditional Santa Claus figure, but therein lies both the rub, and the triumph, of marketing. Literally the name means Yule Goat, and the Finnish character historically was a sort of troll who was used to threaten children who were naughty.

Joulupukki是芬兰传统里圣诞老人的名字,但其间包含了营销难题以及胜利。从字面上来说,这个名字的意思是“圣诞山羊”,而这个芬兰的形象在历史上是一个喜欢吓唬顽童的巨型怪兽。

Fifty years ago, travel marketers got the idea to attract tourists to remote Lapland and settled on Rovaniemi for its train station and airport. For many years, though, the Santa Claus attraction jostled for visitors with tours to see the Northern Lights or go on reindeer safaris; most of those who came were from countries with a strong Christmas tradition, bringing children along on the ultimate Santa’s Grotto experience.

50年前,旅游业营销人员想出了吸引游客到偏远的拉普兰的办法,罗瓦涅米因为有火车站和机场而在那里建了圣诞村。然而,多年来,圣诞老人景点要与看北极光或驯鹿狩猎的旅游项目竞争游客,这些游客大多来自拥有悠久圣诞传统的国家,他们带着孩子来参加洞穴里的圣诞终极体验。

Barry and Leanne Smyth, from Ireland, brought their daughters, Lauren, 9, and Jodie, 4, here last week, after a box of presents arrived at their house early with a note inside from Santy (as they know him in Ireland), inviting the girls to visit him in person. They found a flight to Helsinki, then all four crammed into a compartment with two beds on the overnight train to Rovaniemi, 500 miles to the north.

来自爱尔兰的巴里(Barry)和琳恩·史密斯(Leanne Smyth)上周带他们的女儿——9岁的劳伦(Lauren)和4岁的乔迪(Jodie)来到这里,之前,他们收到了一箱圣诞老人送的礼物,里面有一张纸条,邀请两个女孩亲自来拜访他。他们飞到赫尔辛基,然后四个人挤在夜行火车的双铺包厢,向500英里(约合800公里)以北的罗瓦涅米出发。

“We didn’t sleep a wink,” Mr. Smyth, an accountant, said. “But the girls loved it.” The girls thanked Santa for his invitation (the parents exchanged a furtive glance) and asked, as many children do these days, for a slime factory.

“我们完全没睡,”身为会计师的史密斯先生说。“但女儿们超级开心。”她们感谢了圣诞老人的邀请(家长悄悄地对视了一下),并且跟很多孩子一样,说自己希望得到的礼物是粘土玩具(slime factory)。

Chinese tourism steadily increased, helped by Finnish official visits that marketed Lapland as Santa’s home tundra. “A lot of Chinese now think the North Pole is here,” she said. “It just grew and grew.”

在芬兰官方把拉普兰作为圣诞老人故乡加以推广的帮助下,来这里的中国游客人数稳步增长。“很多中国人现在以为北极在这里,”她说,“游客人数一直在涨。”

In recent years, Santa tourism has grown so drastically that “it’s like everyone is building a hotel,” Ms. Zhang said. Now an entrepreneur and married to a Finn, she was in charge of one of the new hotels, the first Chinese-financed one. It opened five months ago and is already running at full occupancy, she said.

张田说,近年来,圣诞老人旅游发展迅速,以至于“大家好像都在建酒店”。她现在是一名企业家,与一个芬兰人结了婚,负责管理首家中国投资的新酒店。她说,酒店在五个月前开始营业,现在全满。

Three 30-year-old women from Macau found it hard to explain why they had come, as they waited for their portraits with Santa to be printed.

三名来自澳门的30岁女性等着与圣诞老人的合照被打印出来,她们觉得很难解释自己为什么来这里。

“I just wanted to say I saw Santa Claus,” Sukie Wong said. “We didn’t ask for anything.”

“我只是想说,我见到了圣诞老人,”苏姬·王(Sukie Wong)说。“我们没要什么礼物。”

One of the women, the Santa confided later, asked him for a boyfriend, which he said was a common request from unmarried Asian women.

圣诞老人后来透露,其中一名女子希望他送给她一个男朋友,他说这是在未婚亚洲女性中常见的请求。

At the Rovaniemi Lutheran Church where the local pastors Topi Litendahl and Elina Rask-Litendahlthey work, Christmas Eve services are in several languages, including English, Hebrew and Arabic, just in case any tourists want to stop by. Every year only a couple of dozen do, about the only visible religious aspect to the tourist juggernaut.

在当地的牧师托皮·里顿道尔(Topi Litendahl)和依琳娜·拉斯克-里顿道尔(Elina Rask-Litendahlthey)工作的罗瓦涅米路德教堂(Rovaniemi Lutheran Church),为所有想来参观的游客准备了用多种语言举行的平安夜仪式,包括英语、犹太语和阿拉伯语。每年,只有几十个人真的会来,这是当地的圣诞旅游中唯一跟宗教有关的活动。

“The Santa Claus of tourism and the Christmas of Christian faith, they can coexist quite nicely,” Ms. Rask-Litendahl said.

“旅游业的圣诞老人和基督教信仰的圣诞节可以友好地并存,”拉斯克-里顿道尔说。

No amount of commercialization can wipe the Christmas wonder from a child’s eyes. For most of the youngsters coming through, Rovaniemi gives them a thoroughly convincing spectacle, from real igloos and ice furniture outside the downtown shopping mall, to tastefully done log-cabin style towers at the Santa village.

再多的商业化也不能抹去孩子们眼中圣诞的奇妙光彩。从真的冰屋到镇中心购物商场外的冰制家具,以及圣诞老人村匠心独具的小木屋风格的高塔,对大多数来这里的年轻人来说,这里向他们呈现了一个足够令人信服的奇观。

“Grazie grazie, Babbo Natale,” said Serena Rallo, 6, her eyes misting up and her face beaming as she posed for a picture hugging Second Santa. Her father, Vincenzo, an Italian who lives in Paris, was even more excited. “Gentile, gentile,” so kind, he kept telling Mr. Eskeli. “I hope you bring her lots of toys, because she’s really been great this year.”

“谢谢你,圣诞老人,”6岁的塞丽娜·拉罗(Serena Rallo)用意大利语说,当她抱着第二圣诞老人拍照时,她的眼眶湿润了,脸上洋溢着兴高采烈的神情。她的父亲温琴佐(Vincenzo)是住在巴黎的意大利人,他表现得更激动。“亲爱的,亲爱的,”您太好了,他不停的对埃斯凯林说。“我希望您可以带给她很多快乐,因为她今年真的很乖。”

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