City of Turku © Annika Kujanpää

Hyvää Joulua from Turku

Dome of Turku – Photo by Pasi Leino

In normal years, thousands of people gather at the Old Great Square in Turku, Finland, at Christmas Eve and listen to the Declaration of the Christmas Peace. The tradition, which launches the celebrations and, in a way, marks the official start of Christmas, dates back to the 14th century. This year, due to the corona pandemic, it is held without an audience, but broadcasted through television and radio.

Turku Christmas 2020 Photo by Pasi Leino

The exact wording used during the first few centuries of the tradition has been lost over time, but the main contents of the declaration remain the same: the declaration is read out loud to remind people that Christmas peace has begun, to advise people to spend the festive period in harmony, to threaten offenders with harsh punishments, and to wish all a merry Christmas.

Here some more inspirational greetings from our cities:

Frankfurt, Germany © Stadt Frankfurt
Gaziantep, Turkey: Happy holidays and a prosperous New Year!
London, England: Trafalgar Square
Ostend, Belgium: What is christmas? Tenderness for the past Courage for the present Hope for the future


Ivo Banek Eurocities Writer