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Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Declaration of Christmas Peace - Joulurauhanjulistus

At noon on Christmas Eve, every year since the Middle Ages (save for interruptions caused by war), the town of Turku, Finland, has celebrated a tradition called "The Declaration of Christmas Peace." It consists of the chief officer of the city reading the traditional declaration to the citizens gathered in front of the "Doom Church", the Turku Cathedral, which also dates from the Middle Ages. By tradition, crimes committed during the Christmas Peace (12 noon on Christmas Eve, and the days following) get punished at double the usual punishment. At home, this means no fighting with your siblings after noon. After the declaration, the National Anthem is sung, the "March of the Men of Pori" is played by the orchestra, and the bells of the Doom Church ring, dispersing the populace to their Christmas celebrations. The event has been televised in Finland since 1983. And now, Finnish expatriates around the world can join in via the Internet. 5 am here, and I got up to hear it — traditions, you know.

Here is the text, courtesy of The City of Turku:

"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 [people to] devotion and to otherwise behaving 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 found guilty and punished according to what the law and statutes prescribe for each and every offence respectively.

Finally, a joyous Christmas feast is wished to all inhabitants of the city."

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Blogger SzélsőFa said...

A considerate law. I should make enforce it at home with my kids :)))
How's that that you're around here, psoting entries, instead of doing Christmas duties, hm?
And how's who starts (or continues) war within him/herself? How is s/he to be punished?
Merry Christmas to you.
We are in the middle of our Christmas activities AND remodelling our little room, sort of. That is a funny thing to do around Christmas, isn't it?

December 24, 2006 8:57 AM  

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