A brutal Christmas wish

For your entertainment and edification, the traditional Joulurauhan julistus or Declaration of Christmas Peace, read from Turku, Finland, every December 24th at noon ever since the fey mists of the 14th century (and reconstructed from a surviving clerk’s memory after the great fire of 1827), radio broadcast since 1935, televised since 1983, and broadcast for all the Internets since 2006. The reader is some poor chief-of-staff clerkperson of the city, bareheaded and without gloves, on a bare balcony, reading from an antique parchment, even if it is -18 C (zero Fahrenheit) out — by the way, -30 C (-22 F) here in the more northern Finland woo yeah! — and there’s a bit of music, some of it listened to with your hats off.

It’s a lot more fun to watch it with your family through the TV, because you get at the glögg immediately afterwards. And “glögg” (Finnish glögi) is not something involving retching and reeling, despite the sound, but mulled wine.

But the declaration. (The best video I could find is the Swedish-broadcast version, available for 8 days, and may or may not work outside Finland. Tarnation and twigs! Then again, Youtube has the 2009 declaration, and the only significant change in the show happens when the clerk retires.) First, as it is read in Finnish:

Huomenna, jos Jumala suo, on meidän Herramme ja Vapahtajamme armorikas syntymäjuhla; ja julistetaan siis täten yleinen joulurauha kehoittamalla kaikkia tätä juhlaa asiaankuuluvalla hartaudella viettämään sekä muutoin hiljaisesti ja rauhallisesti käyttäytymään, sillä se, joka tämän rauhan rikkoo ja joulujuhlaa jollakin laittomalla taikka sopimattomalla käytöksellä häiritsee, on raskauttavien asianhaarain vallitessa syypää siihen rangaistukseen, jonka laki ja asetukset kustakin rikoksesta ja rikkomuksesta erikseen säätävät. Lopuksi toivotetaan kaupungin kaikille asukkaille riemullista joulujuhlaa.

Second, as it is after that read in Swedish:

I morgon, vill Gud, infaller vår Herres och Frälsares nåderika födelsefest; och varder förty härigenom en allmän julfred kungjord och påbjuden, med åtvarning till envar att denna högtid med tillbörlig andakt fira, och i övrigt iakttaga ett stilla och fridsamt uppförande, emedan den, som häremot bryter samt julhögtiden genom något olagligt eller otillbörligt förfarande oskärar, gör sig under försvårande omständigheter förfallen till det straff, lag och författningar för varje brott och överträdelse särskilt påbjuda. Slutligen tillönskas stadens samtliga invånare en fröjdefull julhelg.

And third, since the previous two might not enlighten you much, the same in English, as translated by me, with some gratuitous archaeisms to keep a bit of the feel of the original:

Tomorrow, if God happens to allow it, shall be the mercy-full birthday of our Lord and Redeemer; and hence we therefore declare a general and common Christmas peace by encouraging all to spend this most festive occasion with due prayerfulness, and in similar manners to behave themselves with quiet and calmness, for the one who breaks this peace, and disturbs this Christmas festivity with some unlawful or untoward action, has accrued, under the presence of most grievous and aggravating conditions, the punishments and penalties which the law and the acts for each such crime and unlawfulness separately decree. Also, the people of the city are wished a happy Christmas.

In other words: You better watch out, you better not cry out; or else. And by the way, have a good time!

Have a good time, you all! Golden apples and chocolate twigs for all!

One Response to “A brutal Christmas wish”

  1. William Lawson Says:

    No problem with the Swedish-broadcast version link. A wonderful reminder of how the internet has begun to awaken and broaden a global sense of connection. Which is fine (as you’ve noted), so long as no one gets out of line. ;-)

    In any case, it was a pleasure to see/hear. Thanks!

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