The coronavirus changes Helsinki’s Christmas traditions.
Christmas Tuomaa Market at Senate Square and Aleksanterinkatu Joulukatu, which were traditionally part of Helsinki, and the aim is to organize a corona pandemic this year as well, but without the program, the organizers say.
The market is organized by the Helsinki Events Foundation, and the sales stalls are scheduled to open on November 5.
“We have widened the range of stalls in the Tuomaan market and eliminated operations,” the CEO of the foundation Stuba Nikula says.
By activities, he refers to program numbers that have been seen in the Tuomaa market in previous years. They gather the people together, making it difficult to maintain safety distances.
The event foundation has, of course, also been in talks with potential sales entrepreneurs in the market throughout the autumn to see if they are willing to come when the number of customers may fall from previous years due to the interest rate pandemic.
Mixed Nikula and Sales and Marketing Director of the Helsinki Event Foundation Petra Majander say there is a willingness. What about the children’s favorite, the carousel, will it be brought to the scene this year?
“So far, the carousel is coming and busy. That is the heart of the Market, and it is really important for children. Let’s hope it comes a cold winter so people have quilted gloves, ”says Petra Majander.
According to him, the event foundation has taken lessons from Linnanmäki for disinfection, for example.
Tuomaa’s market is comparable to the Herring Market, which was held at the Helsinki Market Square. They were not known to cause corona problems. The herring market is comparable to a market, and markets have been open throughout the pandemic.
Short-term events such as the Tuomaan market are subject to different clauses than year-round market trading. However, one feature is the same: they are outdoor events. They have been treated more favorably by the authorities than by internal events, and restaurants, for example, have been granted more permits for terrace permits than without a pandemic.
According to Petra Majander, the number one thing in Tuomaa’s market arrangements is to take care of the safety of traders, ie sellers and customers. The development of the pandemic and the instructions or possible regulations of the authorities are monitored on a daily basis.
“We are adapting to the stages of the epidemic. If there is a spread phase, let’s see how the Regional Surveillance Authority instructs us. “, he says.
Aleksanterinkatu Joulukatu will be lit this year as well, but without the traditional opening parade, says the CEO Krista Östman Helsinki City Marketing (HCM), which organizes the event.
HCM is a trade association in the center of Helsinki, which includes 26 property owners and operators in the city center. The association has been organizing Aleksin Joulukatu for 25 years. The event itself will be held on November 22 for the 78th time, but in a different way.
“There will be no parade this year. Also, the lights are not lit traditionally so that people do not pack in the area. This is a purely safety issue, ”says Östman.
The association has applied for permission to host the event for 5,000 people at Senate Square. On average, 35,000 to 50,000 people have arrived in previous years. The event is broadcast in real time on the Internet.
“The Christmas opening is streamed virtually on the Helsinki channel on the Internet, a bit like the spring virtual day. This is a kind of hybrid, ”says Östman.
Traditional the lamps are thus lit by Alex, but not like the mass event of previous years. The same applies to the Lucia procession on 13 December and other Christmas events at the Helsinki Cathedral Parish and the Cathedral.
The Lucia celebration is organized by the social and health organization Folkhälsa. This year, too, has had to compromise on arrangements. The usual mass event is shrinking, at least in such a way that there are only a small number of people inside the Cathedral compared to previous years.
Usually the church is crowded at Christmas events. Now Folkhälsan hopes to accommodate 60-100 people in order to perform a choral song, for example. The coronation and procession will be televised.
In any case, the events of the Christmas period are challenging for the Helsinki Cathedral Parish, says vs. the pastor Maija Kuoppala. The cathedral can normally accommodate 1,200 people, now 176 can be accommodated.
“There are only a small number of people inside the church at the Lucia party. We keep decent safety distances. The events of the Christmas season are very challenging when it is difficult to predict anything, ”says Kuoppala.
He speculates that at Christmas, the congregation will function as the last major, at which point many events had to be canceled or at least reduced. Some may be streamed over the internet so that the audience is not present at all.
“We have a big operation ahead in terms of how we carry out all our Christmas events: eve and Christmas Day services, fairs, Oratorios, The Most Beautiful Christmas Songs concert, countless Christmas certificates,” Kuoppala lists the events.
Some of them are streamed and recorded on the congregation’s Youtube channels and Facebook account.
“They’re big events, and their organizers are nutting the same thing with us. That even some kind of Christmas would be accomplished now that, after a desperate year, people would need the light, joy, comfort, and warmth that the Church often provides in such situations. ”