– This Declaration of the Christmas Peace is of particular importance to all of us, and I sincerely hope that the core message of the Declaration will spread more widely this year than ever, says Mayor of Turku Minna Arve.
The Declaration of Christmas Peace is read aloud in Finnish and Swedish by Mika Akkanen, Manager of International Affairs, City of Turku. Akkanen now declares Christmas Peace for the tenth time.
– After two exceptional years, it seems extremely important to get together again at the Old Great Square to send Christmas Peace to homes around Finland and the world, Akkanen says.
The event can also be watched via Yle's television, radio or Yle Areena. The live broadcast starts at 11.55 a.m. The broadcast interpreted for sign language can be viewed as a live webcast on Yle Areena.
Changes in traffic
The surroundings of the Cathedral and the Old Great Square will be closed from traffic and parking on Sun 23 December at 8 a.m. The area is indicated by transfer request signs. The arrangement will be cancelled as soon as possible after the event. The public is encouraged to consider the exceptional traffic arrangements and arrive on time on foot or by public transport. Up to 15,000 people are expected to attend the event. Uudenmaankatu will be closed to traffic on 24 December at 11.30 a.m.
The Christmas tradition has been preserved for 700 years
‘Therefore, I declare universal Christmas Peace by inviting all of us to celebrate this event with the appropriate fervour.’ These words have traditionally led to the celebration of Christmas and have declared Christmas to have begun. The first centuries of the tradition have not retained precise wording, but its core content has remained the same: A proclamation read out aloud reminds us of the beginning of Christmas peace, calls for a peaceful celebration, threatens the offenders with severe punishments and wishes a merry Christmas.
The Declaration of the Christmas Peace has been read in Turku as an almost unbroken tradition for 700 years from the 14th century. Christmas Peace has been declared on the balcony of the Brinkkala House since 1886. The current pattern of the Declaration of the Christmas Peace dates back to 1903.
Christmas Peace has not been declared in 1939 because of the fear of air bombing and in 1917 during the militia strike. As far as we know, Christmas Peace was also not declared in the years 1712 to 1721, and possibly in the years 1809 to 1815. In 2020 and 2021, the declaration was exceptionally read without the public due to the difficult coronavirus situation.
The Turku Declaration of the Christmas Peace has been broadcast on the radio since 1935. From 1983 onwards, television broadcasts started in Finland and from 1986 onwards also in Sweden. Today, the Declaration of the Christmas Peace can be followed on the Internet as a live broadcast around the world.
The Declaration of the Christmas Peace Programme on 24 December 2022
Old Great Square, in front of Brinkkala House:
The Turku section of the Finnish Red Cross gives out the lyrics of the songs to be sang together and offers mulled wine at the Porthan monument. The lyrics of the sing-along of the 2021 event will be used this year. It was organised without the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At 11.30 am The Finnish Navy Band, directed by Lieutenant Commander (music) Juha Ketola, Mieskuoro Laulun Ystävät (male choir) and YMCA Turku's male choir Naskalit, directed by Nikke Isomöttönen, play Christmas songs.
Approx. 11.35 a.m. The male choir and the Finnish Navy Band, directed by Lieutenant Commander Juha Ketola, present Christmas songs, the audience can sing along if they wish. Weather permitting.
Approx. 11.45 am The Finnish Navy Band, directed by Lieutenant Commander Juha Ketola
THE DECLARATION OF THE CHRISTMAS PEACE STARTS
At 11.57 a.m. Jumala ompi linnamme (‘A Mighty Fortress Is Our God’) Finnish Hymn Book, Hymn No. 170, verses 1, 4
The Turku Cathedral bells chime at 12 noon Fanfare Marsalkan hopeatorvet ('The Marshal's silver horns') composed by Artturi Rope
Turku, Finland, declares the Christmas Peace, by Mika Akkanen, Manager of International Affairs of the City of Turku.
The Finnish National Anthem ‘Maamme’ (1. verse in Finnish, 1. verse in Swedish, 2. verse in Finnish)
The honorary march of the Finnish defence forces ‘Porilaisten marssi’ (‘March of the Pori Regiment’)