President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö and his spouse Jenni Haukio received the traditional Christmas greetings on Wednesday, 14 December 2022. In the past two years, the greetings had been given remotely, but now the bearers of the greetings once again came to Mäntyniemi.
The first greeting, a Christmas tree, was brought to the Presidential couple by forestry students, who have been selling Christmas trees in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area since 1909. This year, the Forestry Students’ Christmas Tree Company was represented by seven Forestry students who started their studies in 2020.
After the presentation of the tree, the boys’ choir Cantores Minores sang for the Presidential couple in Mäntyniemi’s Grand salon. The choir was conducted by Hannu Norjanen. The Presidential couple serve as patrons of the choir, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary.
In his words of greeting at the event, President Niinistö stated that this year’s Christmas greetings were being received in a very different atmosphere than last year. According to the President, the world is highly unsettled and the war in Ukraine weighs on everyone’s mind. In addition, COVID-19 continues to challenge Finns.
“There is always a reason to keep hope up, however, and I, at least, believe that difficulties even like these can be overcome. It’s rather like this weather we’ve been having: storm yesterday, sunshine today.”
Present at the event was also Finland’s Lucia Maiden, Wilma Grönqvist from Raseborg, who with her choir brought the Christmas spirit to Mäntyniemi. The Lucia Maiden traditionally visits numerous different hospitals and nursing homes in December and January, bringing light and strength to the residents.
After the music, the Helsinki branch of the Finnish Florists’ Association presented the Presidential couple with a floral greeting. The Finnish Florists’ Association is a nationwide industry organisation for florists and those who have completed training or a degree in floristry.
Representatives of animal welfare and conservation organisations presented to the Presidential couple a basket of completely vegan items from domestic growers and producers, containing, among other things, organic vegetables, apple jam, green flower juice and Jerusalem artichoke chips.
The Vehmaa branch of the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners delivered the Christmas ham, sourced from a farm in Southwest Finland.
The people of Korppoo presented the Presidential couple with the Christmas pike, which this year was caught by pilot boat master Tore Johansson. The first Christmas pike was brought to the King by the people of Korppoo in the 18th century. After a 200-year break, the tradition was restored during the term of President Koivisto.
Finally, the Finnish Karelian League presented to the Presidential couple Karelian pasties, freshly baked just before the reception.