Finnish Christmas Celebrations: Christmas Tree at Turku Cathedral
​Each year, many people attend the annual event of lighting up the tree’s lights.

​– Spruces were considered as important figures in the pre-Christian period in Finland. Back then, nature was worshipped in many different ways and it was believed that the greatest spruce at the family estate held a connection to the dead and the family’s ancestors, explains University Lecturer in Folkloristics Pasi Enges.

Since spruces were already important to the Finns, having them as symbols for Christmas was adapted easily into the culture. Spruces were first brought to homes in cities and the tradition spread to the countryside as well in the late 1800s, continues Enges.

The first public Christmas tree was brought to Turku Cathedral at 1900, and it was decorated with electric lights. The tradition of bringing a Christmas tree to the Turku Cathedral begun in 1930. According to some records, there were some interruptions to the tradition during the Second World War. Since 1955, a detailed record has been kept on the Turku Cathedral spruces, including their givers and places of origin.

The Christmas tree at Turku Cathedral is a popular landmark during Christmas time, and many people attend the annual event of lighting up the tree’s lights. It is important that the spruce is tall and great and has thick and large branches. Other Finnish cities also have public Christmas trees and each year there is friendly competition on who has the most beautiful Christmas tree.

– The reason behind having public Christmas trees could be the principle of sharing, which is a rather universal belief during Christmas time. People want to share the happiness and joy and beautiful Christmas trees provide it for everyone, concludes Enges.

Earlier in the feature:

>> Finnish Christmas Celebrations: Advent

>> Finnish Christmas Celebrations: Decorations

Photos: City of Turku, Timo Jakonen

Text: Jenni Maja

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Published date 12/18/2017 12:20 AM ,  Modified date 12/18/2017 3:17 PM

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