Christmas City Turku gathers together the most important elements of Finnish Christmas: the Old Great Square Christmas Market in Turku, the Christmas tree of Turku Cathedral, lots of Christmas events and, as a culmination, the Declaration of Christmas Peace to make the whole of Finland calm down. Christmas in Turku begins with a common great opening weekend on 1–2 December and continues till January 13, Saint Knut’s Day, giving Christmas mood and feelings to people of all ages.
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All Christmas time events in Turku until Saint Knut’s Day can be found at: turku.fi/en/christmas-city

The switching on the lights of the Christmas tree of Turku Cathedral starts Christmas City Turku events.  The traditional Christmas tree of Turku Cathedral comes this year from Kirsi and Janne Turtia’s garden in Moisio of Turku. The spruce is about 85 years old and about 22 metres high. 718 LED lamps on the Christmas tree will be lighted up on 1 December at 3:45 p.m. in an event where people dance and sing in the music playschool to the rhythm of Tuuli Paasolainen’s band. A Christmas greeting in the event will be presented by Reverend Elina Kiili of the Turku Cathedral Parish.

The parade of the fabulous Christmas opening guides the audience from the Library Bridge to the pedestrian street at 4:45 p.m. The parade led by the Snow Queen can be followed on a new route from the Library Bridge through Läntinen rantakatu and Kristiinankatu to Yliopistonkatu.

In the pedestrian street of Yliopistonkatu Christmas is opened with music and acrobatics performance by Pauliina Räsänen from Art Teatro. The fabulous Christmas opening culminates in the switch-on of the Christmas lights of Yliopistonkatu. The Christmas lights are this year switched on by Mayor Minna Arve. There will be Christmas atmosphere and programme in the city centre for all the family for the whole opening day.

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The Declaration of Christmas Peace is read out loud to the world as usual from the balcony of the Brinkkala Mansion on Christmas Eve, 24 December, at noon. The Declaration is read already for the sixth time by Mika Akkanen, Head of Protocol of the City of Turku.

- The Declaration of Christmas Peace is a matter of honour to me because I can be a link in a centuries-old chain and part of the most important common tradition of Finnish people. I prepare for the declaration by reading rehearsals and always with a restful mind, says Mika Akkanen.

Christmas Market and a temporary market area in the Market Square radiate the Christmas spirit

Christmas scents and atmosphere are prevailing in a traditional way at Christmas market at the Old Great Square which is open till 16 December on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  In the bustle of the Old Great Square you can also meet Santa Claus and his wife and enjoy events all day long. On the market days you can also drop by the Old Town Hall to listen to Christmas music.

The Handicraft Stores of Luostarin Välikatu (‘Monastery Avenue’) give ideas for Christmas presents. The Christmas market of the Handicraft Stores is open during weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. till 16 December.

In spite of the renovation of the Market Square, you can enjoy market atmosphere in a temporary market area which will be dressed in seasonal outfit by means of abundant lighting among other things. There will also be extra market stands and Santa Claus’s log cabin. Santa Claus will be present at the Market Square on Saturdays starting from 1 December. Santa Claus will visit the Christmassy Market Hall on 1 December from 12 noon to 2 p.m.

The City of Turku supports the Christmas trade in the centre with two significant campaigns. Free on-street parking is available in the city centre for the whole of December. In addition, on Saturdays adults are allowed to travel by bus at a price of a child’s ticket.

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Christmas exhibitions, crafts and concerts set the mood for Christmas

Christmas exhibitions at museums in Turku shed light on Christmas celebrations, food and other traditions in the past. Christmas servings are displayed at the Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum, the Pharmacy Museum, the Qwensel House and the Turku Castle. At the Christmas of Animals exhibition at Luostarinmäki you can look into the life of animals in winter.

Open workshops offer a chance to make presents and decorations in the Adventure Park, at Vimma, at the Kylämäki Village in Kurala and at the Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum. The Turku Castle also organises activities at gingerbread courses of gingerbread master Petrus and at courses for making straw mobiles.

In the concert of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra Christmas Dreams on 13-14 December the favourite seasonal melodies will come to life as philharmonic arrangements and interpreted by soprano Mari Palo.

In Impivaara and Petrelius swimming halls there is candle swimming in intimate candlelight on 18-21 December, and the City Library is open on Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. like last year.

Christmas Walk organised by Visit Turku takes participants to see the offerings of the Christmas City on the walking tour: the Old Great Square, the Turku Cathedral and Christmas in Turku and Finland. Guided tours in Finnish, Swedish and English will be organised on Saturdays from 1 December till 5 January from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The tickets are sold by the Visit Turku online shop and the Tourist Information.

Highlights of the Christmas City:

  • The Ecumenical Christmas in Turku, Finland at the Turku Cathedral on 12 December at 6 p.m. The soloist of the evening is tenor Topi Lehtipuu. The event will be recorded and it will be broadcast on YLE TV1 on Christmas Eve.
  • The Christmas Peace is declared by the City of Turku from the Old Great Square on Christmas Eve at noon.
  • New Year Celebration on 31 December: traditional fireworks at Samppalinnanmäki at midnight. Children’s New Year Celebration will take place at the Sports Wonderland for Children at Kupittaa Sports Hall at 3 p.m. and fireworks will be shot at 6 p.m.
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