This year, Christmas lighting is realised in Helsinki’s city centre already for the 72th time. The tradition started in 1949, as the merchants of Aleksanterinkatu and its immediate surroundings decorated the streets with tree needles and lights for the residents’ enjoyment. This year, the opening ceremony can be followed live on the web.
Helsinki’s Christmas season will be opened in the Senate Square according to a renewed concept on Sunday the 22nd of November at 15:00. Christmas-themed music performances by several star artists will take place on the stairs of Helsinki Cathedral. The audience in the Senate Square and on the web will also hear the story of how the lights of Christmas street were turned on. The event will of course be attended by Santa Claus and Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori.
The event will be broadcast live online through several channels, allowing participation from one’s own living room. The program can be seen live on Helsinki-kanava, on Nelonen channel’s Ruutu Live and on ISTV.
The opening ceremony of Helsinki’s Christmas season will stage the main characters Pertsa and Kilu from director Taavi Vartia’s new film of the same name.
Vartia has written the manuscript for the opening show, which also features artists Arja Koriseva and Mariska from Nelonen Media’s “Vain Elämää” programme. Artist Ida-Elina will perform Christmas-themed pop music on a kantele.
– The Christmas street in Helsinki is one of the oldest among the many urban Christmas traditions. For many generations, the Christmas street opening ceremony has been the moment when the anticipation of Christmas officially starts. It is great that the Christmas street tradition can be continued regardless of the exceptional conditions under which we will celebrate Christmas this year, Mayor Jan Vapaavuori says.
Charity organisations will hold their traditional Christmas fair in connection with the opening ceremony, offering Christmas delicacies and own products.
The number of live spectators allowed into the Senate Square during the event will be limited according to the coronavirus restrictions.
Christmas Parade to be replaced with a Window Path
Due to security reasons, the Christmas Parade will not be held this year, but there will be a Christmas-themed Window Path in Aleksanterinkatu and in its immediate surroundings.
A part of the area’s operators will let passers-by follow the Christmas preparations of animal figures. The Window Path will be opened on the day of the Christmas season opening ceremony. The still lifes of the Window Path will remain displayed until Christmas. The exact positions of the still lifes will be indicated on a map to be published closer to the event date on the Christmas webpages.
The programme of the opening ceremony:
13:00 The fair booths of Hyvän Tahdon Tori (Good Will Market) are opened in the Senate Square
15:00 Start of the official opening ceremony in front of Helsinki Cathedral
16:00 Official declaration of the opening of the nationwide Christmas season.
A more detailed event programme, the Window Path map and other information on the opening ceremony of Helsinki’s Christmas season can be found on the Christmas webpages.
The atmospheric Christmas lighting of the city centre streets will delight passers-by until the end of January.
Links for viewing the opening ceremony:
YouTube channel, Helsinki City Markkinointi ry
The event is realised by Helsinki City Markkinointi ry. Helsinki City Markkinointi ry is a cooperation body of the city centre’s real estate owners, companies and the City of Helsinki. Its aim is to maintain and develop the attractiveness of the city centre.
Photo: Jussi Hellsten (c) Tori Quarter.