The Christmas Tree of Turku Cathedral

In the year 1900, a cloud of gloom hung over the Grand Duchy of Finland, as Russia had initiated proceedings to do away with Finland's special position within its empire.

"In Turku, however, Christmas that year was brightened by something never seen before. The Turku gentry were astonished to see it, but the country folk that had come to town may have figured it to be quite the other-worldly wonder", writes Jari Niemelä, Ph.D., in his book Täällä Suomen synnyinmuistot ("Remembering the Birth of Finland").

The Christmas tree of Turku Cathedral has its roots deep in history. The first spruce tree that was lit with electric lamps was brought to the place already in 1900, and the regular tradition of the Christmas tree standing on the Cathedral square started in the 1930s. According to the folk memory, there were small breaks in the tradition during the war years. From 1955 onwards a careful record has been kept of the spruces, their donors, and their homes, among other things.

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The number one spruce of the country needs to meet certain requirements: it has to be 20–25 meters high, bushy, symmetrical, and beautifully green. The tree will stand its ground until the 13th of January.

Traditionally, after the spruce has served as the most famous Christmas tree in Finland, it will be returned to its donor in pieces. Sometimes garden furniture has also been made out of it, and once the tree has continued its life cycle as raw wood for the museum ship Sigyn.

In the year 1900, a cloud of gloom hung over the Grand Duchy of Finland, as Russia had initiated proceedings to do away with Finland's special position within its empire.

"In Turku, however, Christmas that year was brightened by something never seen before. The Turku gentry were astonished to see it, but the country folk that had come to town may have figured it to be quite the other-worldly wonder", writes Jari Niemelä, Ph.D., in his book Täällä Suomen synnyinmuistot ("Remembering the Birth of Finland").