For centuries, in the Old Great Square of Turku, at 12 noon every Christmas Eve (except in 1939 due to the Winter War) - and just half an hour ago again, a crowd of several thousand people gathers to listen to the Declaration of Christmas Peace.
It has read, and continues to read, as follows:
"Tomorrow, God willing, is the graceful celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour; and thus is declared a peaceful Christmas time to all, by advising devotion and to behave otherwise quietly and peacefully, because he who breaks this peace and violates the peace of Christmas by any illegal or improper behaviour shall under aggravating circumstances be guilty and punished according to what the law and statutes prescribe for each and every offence separately.
Finally, a joyous Christmas feast is wished to all inhabitants of the city!"
(As of 1899, the crimes committed on christmas time, have actually not
been punished under aggravating circumstances. Oh, the modern times.)
This year's declaration is not yet available on-line, I can only share the one from a year ago - Updated to 2016 declaration
Before the declaration, the hymn God Is Our Fortress
is sung. The hymn is from 1528, by Martin Luther himself, and has been available in Finnish from 1583 (although the current translation is as new as from 1886).
After the hymn, the declaration is read in Finnish and Swedish by the Mayor of Turku.
After the declaration, the National Anthem
And finally, the March of the Pori Regiment
, dating from the 18th centre and one of the most loved military tunes here, played, but not sung on this occasion. This march can almost be compared to how the French relate to La Marseillaise.
With this, our house follows the declaration of "advising devotion and to behave otherwise quietly and peacefully" by, among other things, not allowing computer games until next Monday, neither for kids nor their dad :)
I will return to my turns come Monday, meanwhile:
May You All Enjoy A Peaceful Christmas!