Saturday January 16, 2021

Rovaniemi Christmas Calendar sustains festivity amidst coronavirus

Published : 22 Dec 2020, 15:16

  DF Report

The Rovaniemi Christmas Calendar (Rovaniemenjoulukalenteri) programme is being organised for social media at city´s Lordi's Square on Monday, December 21, 2020. DF Photo.

When the coronavirus pandemic has almost paralysed the normal life across the globe, the Rovaniemi Christmas Calendar (Rovaniemenjoulukalenteri) in social media keeps the celebration of Christmas festival alive among the city dwellers.

The Christmas Calendar has been updated on YouTube and Facebook everyday at 6:00 PM since 1 December and will continue until 24 December to share the festivity and joy in the current abnormal situation, as mass gathering and physical contact are prohibited now.

The organisers convey joy and good humour to city homes with the help of many different actors.

“The Christmas Calendar evolved from the idea that Christmas has not been cancelled, even though almost everything else has been due to the pandemic,” Rovaniemi City’s Urban Development Coordinator Miia Taivalantti told the Daily Finland.

She said there are about 40 different actors and stakeholders involved in organising the Christmas Calendar. The organisers include Santa’s workshop village, Visit Rovaniemi, the City of Rovaniemi and its various services, associations like Likiliike, and a number of companies.

The programmes of the calendar consist of many different contents, always centred on the actor responsible.

“There have been charitable donations, choirs, singing and dances, and great theatrical performances built especially for this programme. For example, there was a wonderful episode of Rovaniemi Theatre which dealt with the issue of coronavirus quarantine at Christmas in a funny way,” said Taivalantti.

The decision to make the online programme was taken quickly and its planning started about seven weeks before the first live show was posted.

The organisers wanted to respond to the uncertain coronavirus situation, where so many live events in the city were cancelled, and these actors did not have the capacity to put up this type of an option for streaming events by themselves.

This project has received a significant response and has drawn attention of a multitude of viewers, bringing a good Christmas spirit to both the authors involved and the viewers successfully.

Describing the details about the initiative, Taivalantti said the Christmas Calendar is a live event and, at the same time, a streamed one.

“We didn’t advertise the live event separately at all, so we didn’t have to make special arrangements due to changing restrictions because of the pandemic. But we have been glad to see pedestrians stopping to watch, as they noticed us filming, but no big crowd has ever evolved. The stream has gone on Rovaniemi’s YouTube channel and the Facebook page of Rovaniemi Christmas Calendar,” she added.

Although the organisers did not run any advertisement for the programme, it has found its audience in the so-called “puskaradio”. The show has reached to 200 to 4,000 viewers on Facebook and 500 to 2.900 on YouTube a day. The number of viewers depends on the content of the day’s programme.

The aim of the arrangement is to offer a real Christmas calendar to elevate the Christmas spirit in Rovaniemi, the official home town of Santa Claus.

Taivalantti also expressed the hope to develop the Christmas Calendar to be more visual and theatrical next year.

“We focus on content design and make a national version of the programme in Finnish and an international version in English,” she said, adding that this time the Christmas Calendar programmes are in Finnish only.

Expressing satisfaction at the positive response received from the viewers, she believes that perhaps the message of conveying a good Christmas spirit has also reached them.

“We are very pleased with the outcome and are sure that the following years will bring us more of working together for a common good in our city,” she added.

The Calendar is available on Youtube and Facebook .