The festive season begins with the advent stream, the Christmas market

The inauguration of the second Christmas season of the Covid era will be celebrated this weekend in Finland with somewhat mild concern about the record high levels of coronavirus infections.

On Sunday, Finnish Lutheran and other Western Christian churches celebrate the beginning of Advent, which marks the beginning of the new church year and the pre-Christmas period. It is usually one of the most popular events of the year in the country’s Lutheran churches.

It has been one of the most important church days since the Middle Ages. In Finland, it is closely related "Hoosianna" anthem. Hosanna is a Hebrew word meaning "help" or "Save."

The song was performed in Stockholm, Sweden in 1795, and a few years later spread to Turku, which was still part of the Kingdom of Sweden.

The Finnish version was published in the late 19th century. However, it was not added to the official Finnish Evangelical Lutheran hymnal until 1986.

Yle sent the first Advent Sunday service from the St. Petersburg Lutheran Church in Siuntio under the direction of a soprano. Johanna Rusanen and the Vox Petri Choir.

Finland’s second national church, the Orthodox Church, does not celebrate Advent, but a 40-day fast that begins on the Feast of the Apostle Philip on November 14.

The holiday market is opening up in many cities

With the decline in the number of members of the church and the number of visitors, Finland is increasingly participating in worldly, commercial celebrations this weekend.

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Due to the renovation of the Senate Square, the traditional Tuomaan Markkinat carousel will run on the nearby Market Square this year.Mårten Lampén / Yle

In Helsinki, the Christmas shopping season opened on Aleksanterinkatu on Saturday, and the traditional Tuomaa Market began at the nearby Market Square.

The former capital Turku started its Christmas season on Saturday, including the May Day parade and the opening of the Christmas Market at the Old Market Square. In less than a month, the area will become the national focus of Christmas Eve sightings with the reading of the ancient Declaration of Christmas Peace.

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People shopping at a Christmas stall
Tuomaan Markkinat (St Thomas Market) was opened on Helsinki Market Square on Saturday. In addition to the traditional Christmas sales of more than 100 artisans and small producers, the event will also feature circus and musical performances.Mårten Lampén / Yle

The Tampere Christmas season officially starts on Sunday with a procession. Part of the city’s Christmas market opened on Saturday.

The opening of Joulukatu in the northern city of Oulu on Friday was canceled due to an increase in coronavirus infections.

Other cities, such as Espoo, Jyväskylä, Kuopio and Kokkola, started their Christmas season last weekend.

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Veera, Rob, Magic and Snow at Wilson Senate Square
Veera and Rob Wilson, along with their daughters Taika and Lumi, plan to leave for England in a couple of weeks for Christmas, if possible. Mårten Lampén / Yle

Among those who attended the Helsinki festivities on Saturday was Veera and Rob Wilsonwho came with their daughters Magic and Snow to watch the opening event for the first time.

"We are leaving for England with my family. We really hope to get there for Christmas because we haven’t been able to visit in two years," said Veera Wilson from Helsinki.

He said that the family cherishes British holiday traditions as well as basic Finnish products such as gingerbread and Christmas ham.

"We combine the traditions of two Christmases and celebrate Christmas with a big family," he told Yle.

Although the family is planning to be in the UK for Christmas, they have already put up party decorations at home.

"Everyone has had a difficult two years, so it’s wonderful to start thinking about positive things and Christmas stuff," Wilson said.

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Mira Rantanen and Sofia Girenko and Mira's dog Luuttu.
Mira Rantanen and Sofia Girenko came to watch the events in Senate Square with Mira’s dog Luutu. Mårten Lampén / Yle

Another Helsinki resident, Mira Rantanen, who also attended the event for the first time, described himself as "christmas man".

"This atmosphere is awesome. I make a lot of Christmas food, decorate a lot and often wear an elf hat during Christmas," Rantanen said.

He took part Sofia Girenko, also from Helsinki, who said: "I’m excited. It’s really fun to spend Christmas with my friends – and even my family."

Source: The Nordic Page


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