Monday January 17, 2022
Xmas Eve today sets mood for Xmas tomorrow
Published : 24 Dec 2021, 03:52
Updated : 24 Dec 2021, 15:07
All-out preparations have been made in the country to celebrate Christmas Eve on Friday and Christmas on Saturday amidst the ongoing exceptional situation of coronavirus outbreak for the second consecutive year.
Although the government recommended avoiding gathering, people will able to celebrate the festival with their family members and dearest ones maintaining the safety measures.
Earlier, The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on Saturday recommended that the upcoming Christmas and New Yar parties should be organized in a wisest shape, wearing face mask and maintaining safe distance among the participants.
If the people go out and about in crowded places or using public transport this Christmas season, they should wear a mask and remember social distancing, said the THL.
This year, once again the Christmas holidays will be observed in exceptional conditions because of the coronavirus pandemic. That is why people should plan ahead and make sure that the festivities at Christmas and New Year are as safe as possible for everyone.
“Even if COVID-19 is spreading at a fast pace this Christmas, too, we are now protected by vaccines, and luckily most people have already received their two doses. If you have not got your vaccinations yet, this would be a good time to do it – you could think of it as a Christmas present for yourself and others”, said Mika Salminen, Director of THL.
All government, semi-government and private offices and most of the business centres will remain closed on the occasion.
President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin greeted the people on the occasions of Christmas and new year.
“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2022,” said Niinistö and first lady Jenni Haukio.
The President in a separate message also greeted Finnish peacekeepers, who are serving in ten military crisis management or military observer missions abroad, said the Finnish Defence Forces in a press release on Thursday.
“Your role in military crisis management is an important part of shouldering our share of international responsibility. Crisis management supports conflict resolution, post-conflict stabilisation and creates the conditions to build secure societies,” said the President.
He said that Finland participates in international crisis management on foreign and security policy grounds as part of building common security. Participation serves Finland’s international relations and demonstrates Finland’s desire to participate in solving international problems. At the same time, it develops Finland’s own defence capabilities and strengthens our military interoperability.
“I thank you for your service in crisis management operations and your valuable work for the good of international peace and Finland. I wish you and your close friends and relations a peaceful Christmas and every success in 2022,” he said.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin in a statement on Thursday said Christmas is a blend of old and new traditions that arouses shared and individual memories.
“There are sounds and smells and flavours; simple things that we have learned to appreciate even more amidst the ongoing pandemic. As the world around us changes, Christmas feels familiar and safe. Maybe that’s the true magic of the season,” said the Premier.
“Even though many familiar Christmas traditions and customs date back only a few decades or began as little as a century ago, the midwinter feast was celebrated at these latitudes long before our modern Christmas took on its present form and meaning. It was as if we had an age-old need to stop working, calm down and celebrate when the longest night of the year was finally behind us,” she said.
She said that the last two years have called for patience, adaptation and flexibility. Many people have lost loved ones, or been concerned for their own health or that of a family member. Christmas may also be overshadowed by worries about work and livelihood as a renewed need for restrictions has arisen.
“We have yet to discover what next year will bring, but I want to believe that better times are coming. Vaccines have brought a measure of security, and they remain the most important and effective way to fight the pandemic. We should protect ourselves and care for one another,” Marin said.
The Prime Minister hoped that everyone has time at Christmas to pause for at least a moment and enjoy the festivities.
“Each in accordance with our own heritage, or boldly creating new traditions. I personally look forward to spending peaceful time together with my family and loved ones,” she said, adding that Christmas is an opportunity to rest, extend a helping hand, reflect on things past, and consider the future.
“I wish you all a peaceful and joyous Christmas season,” said Marin.