Nearly 35,000 visitors enjoyed the Christmas atmosphere at Tuomaan Markkinat yesterday on Finland's Independence Day. Photo: Vessi Hämäläinen

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Helsinki's beloved Tuomaan Markkinat, a traditional Christmas market, has kicked off its festive season with an impressive start, drawing nearly 135,000 visitors in its opening week. Despite the chilly weather, the market has become a hotspot for both locals and tourists, eager to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere and indulge in responsible gift and decoration shopping.

One of the market's highlights is the culinary offerings, with fortified glögi (mulled wine) and Christmas porridge emerging as popular choices among patrons. Additionally, the British Army Band Sandhurst is set to perform traditional Christmas carols on December 10, enhancing the market's already vibrant ambiance.

On Finnish Independence Day, the market experienced a surge in visitors, with nearly 35,000 people attending to soak in the Christmas spirit. The event, known for its unique atmosphere and high-quality product and food selection, is expected to attract around 350,000 visitors in total, running until December 22.

Among the popular stalls is Haapasalon Hatsapuri, known for its steamy Georgian cheese bread that has been warming the hearts and hands of the marketgoers. Noora Luukkanen, in charge of customer service at the stall, reported brisk sales during the opening weekend (December 1-3), with around 650 cups of fortified glögi and a high demand for traditional hatsapuri.

Tuomaan Markkinat features a variety of vendors, with weekly changing stalls that ensure a fresh experience for repeat visitors. Upcoming offerings include responsibly produced reflector products from Suojelus Design in Kokkola, handmade crafts by Ukrainian refugees through the Ukrainalaisten Yhdistys Suomessa ry, intangible gifts from the Luonnonperintösäätiö, eco-friendly decor from Merilä Art Design, and gourmet food products from Poikain Parhaat.

Additionally, the market offers entertainment for families, including visits from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and a wooden horse carousel that has already delighted nearly 9,500 children and the young at heart. The British Army Band Sandhurst's performance of traditional Christmas carols on December 10 will further enhance the festive atmosphere, making Tuomaan Markkinat a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the joy and community spirit of the holiday season.

HT

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