Lunar new year celebrations in Helsinki 2022/ City of Helsinki, Petri Anttila

In a move that has taken many by surprise, It was revealed recently that the City of Helsinki had made a decision for the discontinuation of its Lunar New Year celebrations, a tradition that for the past 16 years has not only painted the city with vibrant colours and festivity but also served as a bridge between cultures, bringing together people from various backgrounds to celebrate the most significant time of the year for many Asian communities.

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People protest against Israel's inclusion in Eurovision / Lehtikuva

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) remains silent on whether Israel will participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. Amidst this uncertainty, Israel has signalled its intent to withdraw if the EBU decides against Eden Golan's entry, "October Rain."

Outi Hakola, a researcher specializing in media and pop culture, suggests that disqualifying the song could defuse current tensions. "It would offer many parties a way out of this difficult politicized situation," Hakola explains. Echoing this sentiment, Janne Mäkelä, a cultural history researcher at the University of the Arts Helsinki, posits, "Rejection would allow Israel to withdraw from the contest without losing face. I suspect this is the outcome we will ultimately see." Mäkelä also entertains the slim possibility of Israel proposing an alternative entry, though he doubts this path will be taken, viewing it as a matter of national honour for the country. 

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Chinese mega production filmed in Helsinki / screenshot of series

This season, Helsinki's snowy landscape will captivate millions of viewers across China as it becomes the backdrop for a unique TV series. The show, which has brought Chinese celebrities to Finnish shores, has also attracted the attention of paparazzi from China.

For the past few weeks, a remarkably large Chinese film crew has been sighted navigating through Helsinki's city center, drawing the attention of many with their extensive equipment and personnel transported by numerous vehicles.

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The Finnish National Ballet is set to bring a timeless horror classic to life with a unique interpretation in March 2024, as "Dracula," choreographed by Polish maestro Krzysztof Pastor, makes its grand premiere. Pastor, whose rendition first captivated audiences at the West Australian Ballet in 2018 before gracing the stages of Poland and Latvia's national ballets, draws inspiration from Bram Stoker's original 1897 novel and the Oscar-winning 1992 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

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Mikko Alava and his team are developing waterproof foams that can be used to replace plastic.

The Finnish Cultural Foundation has announced the allocation of over €30 million in grants to support a thousand researchers, artists, and projects across Finland. This funding aims to foster a sustainable, pluralistic, and diverse society by enhancing the country's scientific, artistic, and cultural landscape.

In its October 2023 application round, the foundation saw a record-breaking number of over 10,000 applications, with a success rate of one in ten.

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A man walks past a dragon figure at a new year's fair in Beijing on February 4, 2024. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

As the Lunar calendar turns a page to welcome the Year of the Dragon, the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, unfolds in a spectacular display of traditions, celebrations, and global recognition. This year, the festivities begin on February 10th, marking the start of the most significant holiday in China and for millions around the world. The Spring Festival not only heralds the lunar new year but embodies the rich tapestry of Chinese culture, its influence, and the shared joy across diverse communities.

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Nina Beier, Women & Children, 2022. Photo: Timothy Schenck. Courtesy of the High Line.

Helsinki is set to enrich its public art scene with a captivating new addition this spring. The Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art will unveil "Women & Children," a unique fountain installation by Danish artist Nina Beier, positioned prominently outside its premises. This remarkable piece, featuring 11 bronze sculptures of women and children, will be installed in the pool in front of the museum's outdoor café, adjacent to the historic equestrian statue of Marshal Mannerheim.

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Nastja Säde Rönkkö: Survival Guide for a Post-Apocalyptic Child (still), 2022. Costume design: Juha Vehmaanperä. Photo: Aake Kivalo

This spring, the HAM Helsinki Art Museum is set to unveil thought-provoking exhibitions in its arched halls, diving into themes of interconnectedness among all living beings and the critical role of empathy. With these new additions, HAM will be showcasing nearly 200 works from its public collection, the most extensive display of its collection at one time in the museum’s history.

Opening on May 17, the Tennis Palace will house two exhibitions reflecting on the challenges of life on Earth.

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Gretchen Parlato and Kenny Garrett. Photo: Lauren Desberg

The 2024 edition of Savoy JAZZFest, set to take place in March, promises an exceptional lineup of international jazz artists. The festival, now in its sixth year, will be headlined by Grammy-nominated singer Gretchen Parlato and the legendary saxophonist Kenny Garrett, alongside the rising star vocalist Michael Mayo. Kaisa Mäensivu, the artistic director, has curated a program that showcases the evolving boundaries of jazz.

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In October 2024, Helsinki Cathedral will host the renowned British artist Luke Jerram's 'Gaia', a striking seven-meter diameter globe, marking its first appearance in Helsinki. This unique art installation is part of the "Sustainable Future" event and invites visitors to engage in discussions about the future of creation throughout the month.

'Gaia' is a highly detailed representation of Earth, based on NASA's imagery of the planet's surface.

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