1. (Salon Freestyle)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

It was the custom to place candles in the window at Christmas to light up the streets for passers-by on their way to and from church.  Later on people hung up Christmas lanterns above their front doors or on poles tilted upwards over the street. These lanterns would differ in shape or size. The most common symbolised the star which led the three wise men to Bethlehem. This was very typical in Jakobstad in the 17th century – although its origins date back to the 16th century. 


From ‘Jakobstads historia’ (part V), by Guy Björklund




2. (Lenas Shop)

As early as the 18th century, Christmas in Jakobstad would feature young boys and girls sledging up and down the streets brushing past or striking with sticks twigs of spruce adorning the walls and windows of houses along the narrower streets in town. This activity was more typical on the second day of Christmas – Saint Stephen’s Day – when teenagers from the countryside came to town in a long train of sledges. 


Extracts from ‘Utveckling’ by Pekka Toivanen, in co-operation with Sparbanken Deposita  




3. (Monmari)

In earlier times, Christmas peace was proclaimed from the Town Hall in Jakobstad – as was the custom in other towns. The windows of the Town Hall would be decorated with banners and bunting. Two drummers would roll their drums as the mayor delivered his message of Christmas peace from the balcony. The proclamation also reminded citizens of the strict code of conduct during Christmas. Any offence committed during festivities was considered more serious than normal - often resulting in penalties twice as heavy. 


From ‘Jakobstads historia’ (part V), by Guy Björklund





4. (Jakobstads Bokhandel)

Jakobstad traditionally offsets the darkness at Christmas with a bright cross, anchor and heart – the symbols of faith, hope and love. Christmas symbols have existed here since the 1850s; at that time, the symbols were cross, anchor, cross. The heart was not installed until these symbols were first lit up electrically in 1913. There had been efforts to replace them with a Christmas tree in the town square (1906-1907). But local citizens complained bitterly and demanded the return of their much cherished symbols. In 1908 the symbols were duly reinstated – without the tree! The Christmas tree did not return to the town square until 1969.  


Based on extracts from ‘Tro, Hopp och Kärlek’, by Kristina Lundstöm-Björk




5. (Öström)

An earlier tradition, which survived for quite a long time in Jakobstad, was Saint Stephen’s singing. On the second day of Christmas, young boys dressed up as choristers and went around the neighbourhood singing Christmas carols. It was usually boys from poor or deprived backgrounds who would assemble in small groups dressed as choir boys and ‘do the singing rounds’ with the prospect of receiving some coins and ‘Christmas goodies’ – bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries, etc. At the end of their caroling evening, they would divide up the coins and goodies equally between them. 


From Jakobstads historia (part V), by Guy Björklund 




6. (Jakobstads Musik-Pietarsaaren Musiikki)


Hymn 23 Bright morning star gentle and pure (verse 2) 

words adapted by Johan Ludwig Runeberg 1854


Thou, my pearl, in snow-white apparel,

Mary’s boy child, the one true God, my Saviour and King!

Ride out from within my heart, 

Proclaim thy good news

Sweeter even than honey.

Rejoice, rejoice, hosianna!

Manna from heaven for us became

The words fulfilled upon earth.





7. Jakobstad Church