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Advent Sunday draws Finns to church

Hundreds of thousands of Finns on Sunday raised their voices in the traditional hymns that mark the start of the Christmas season.

Image: Yle

Following Christmas itself, Advent Sunday is the most popular date in the calendar among Finnish church members to attend services. Last year, around 129,000 people went to church on Advent Sunday morning, while some 350,000 watched or listened to Lutheran services on radio and TV.

"The singing of the Hosanna hymn may explain the popularity of services on Advent Sunday. Many people remember how the Hosanna was sung at school. The same sense of community is sought by singing in church," says Terhi Paananen, Secretary for Spiritual Life and Worship Services for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

Advent Sunday both marks the start of the Christmas season and is the beginning of the new liturgical year in most western churches.

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