Lux Helsinki brings much-welcome light to the dark heart of Helsinki's winter for the tenth year in 2018. This year, the popular light festival is expected to attract about 500,000 people.
The five-day free-admission festival presents different light installations in various locations of the city centre from 5 pm to 10 pm. The 2018 Lux Helsinki route begins at the Swedish Theatre and ends at the Senate Square.
It is a short walk along the route, which is fully accessible to people with disabilities. This year, the festival's 11 main attractions are focused in the area of the city south of the Esplanade Park.
Organised by the city of Helsinki, the Lux festival began in 2009. Renowned lighting artist Mikki Kunttu kicked things off on the maiden year with a spectacular illumination of the Helsinki Cathedral, a tradition that has continued ever since.
The Hungarian 3D mapping pioneer László Bordos is the mastermind behind the dazzling lights and projections on the iconic Cathedral's surface this year. He says his work was inspired by a composition from the late electronic music artist Mika Vainio from Finland, who passed away last year.
The curators of this year's Lux Helsinki festival are Ilkka Paloniemi and Matti Jykylä.
Light in the darkness
The festival couldn't come at a better time. While northern and central areas of Finland have been inundated with snow this winter, the south has remained largely snow-free. The Finnish Meteorological Society reported on January 4 that the month of December was exceptionally rainy and mild along the southern coast.
What is more, FMI sunlight statistics show that Helsinki received 8.8 hours of sunshine in total during the month of December. Things could be worse though: the same table reports that the sun didn't shine once in December in many cities farther north, like those of Kuopio, Sotkamo, Jyväskylä, Sodankylä and Ilomantsi.
Then of course there's Finland's northernmost point, Utsjoki, where the sun won't pass the horizon again until January 16th.
The length of the day in Helsinki on Saturday, the opening day of Lux, was officially 6 hours and 10 minutes. The good news is that the days are already getting longer; Sunday the sun will be in the sky for three more minutes.