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Finland marks ‘official’ start of Christmas with peace declaration

The tradition has been running for at least 700 years.

Joulurauhan julistus Turussa vuonna 2016.
The Christmas peace has been delcared for more than 700 years. This picture is from the 2016 event. Image: Yle
Yle News

Finland has made its declaration of Christmas peace, officially marking the start of the festivities in a ceremony in the centre of the former capital city, Turku.

The declaration was made by the city’s head of protocol, Mika Akkanen from a balcony in Brikkala House on the city’s Old Great Square near the cathedral.

The declaration was read in Finnish and Swedish and interpreted into Finnish sign language, and was followed by a rendition of the national anthem in Finnish and then Swedish.

The Finnish Navy Band and two local male voice choirs led the musical entertainment, and finished with a rendition of the March of the Pori Regiment.

The tradition dates back more than 700 years, and has been broadcast on the radio since 1935. Television broadcasts began in 1983.

Traditionally the declaration meant that anyone committing a crime over the festive period would receive a harsher punishment, but that is no longer the case.

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Image: Yle News

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