This year, it is the 71st time for Aleksanterinkatu to be decorated in festive lights. The tradition started in 1949, when the Aleksanterinkatu shopkeepers dressed up the street for Christmas with twigs and lights.
The official opening of the Aleksanterinkatu Christmas Street and the whole Christmas season is an event for the whole family that brings several artists to Helsinki city centre. In addition, there will be giant soap bubble art by Ruffle Army, a Christmas bazaar by charity organisations in the Goodwill Market, and finally Father Christmas’s parade as the highlight of the event. Janus and Anna Hanski will host the event.
The Christmas Street opening festivities will kick off at 3 p.m. with a song performance by Ville Karttunen on the stairs of the Helsinki Cathedral by the Senate Square. Sunday Brothers featuring Jepa Lambert will perform as well. Me Hanskit will perform singing the most beautiful carols with a message of a traditional family Christmas. The children’s music ensemble Rokkasoppa is going to entertain the very youngest in the family. The artists Jannike, Laura Voutilainen & Higher Ground Vocals, and the singer Saara Aalto will stir up the mood in anticipation of Father Christmas.
Father Christmas will bring fresh greetings from Korvatunturi. He will be received in the capital of his homeland by Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori. Father Christmas and Mayor Vapaavuori arrive at Senate Square riding a HKL museum tram called Jumbo.
– The opening of the Christmas Street is the year’s high point that we have been waiting for. It brings Christmas to the Helsinki street scene and into people’s minds. The inauguration of the Christmas Street is one of Finland’s oldest Christmas traditions and an excellent excuse to come and rejoice in the Christmas expectation, says Mayor Vapaavuori.
The Christmas Parade will take the traditional route
The Christmas parade, the highlight of the opening festivities, will take off with the conclusion of the show and Jan Vapaavuori’s proclamation heralding the Christmas season officially. The parade will set off from the Senate Square, continue from there along Snellmaninkatu to Aleksanterinkatu, where its route turns to Mannerheimintie and returns from there along Pohjoisesplanadi and Unioninkatu back to the Senate Square. To observe the parade, the Esplanadi is the most spacious and auspicious location on the route.
Father Christmas’s Parade comprises elves, theme characters and a procession of fairy-tale animals that will march through downtown Helsinki bringing joy and the spirit of Christmas to the entire city.
The Aleksanterinkatu Christmas lights and the ambiance they entail are there to delight citizens and visitors alike till the end of January.
Opening day schedule:
1 p.m. Opening of the Goodwill Market stands on Senate Square.
2 p.m. Nice entertainment for the kids.
3 p.m. Opening show on the stairs of Helsinki Cathedral begins.
4 p.m. The parade sets off.
5 p.m. The parade returns to the Senate Square at the latest.
The opening event of the Aleksanterinkatu Christmas Street is arranged by Helsinki City Marketing in cooperation with the City of Helsinki. Helsinki City Markkinointi ry is a cooperation body for the property owners and companies in downtown Helsinki, and the City of Helsinki. It aims to sustain and develop the appeal of the city centre.
Jouluradio.fi, another partner of the City, collaborates in organising the Aleksanterinkatu Christmas Street opening.