Presidential couple receives Christmas greetings at Mäntyniemi

This year’s Lucia, Madeleine Amoroso, in discussion with the President Sauli Niinistö and his spouse Jenni Haukio. Photo: Matti Porre/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland

President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö and his spouse Jenni Haukio received the traditional Christmas greetings on Thursday 14 December 2023 at 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.

After the presentation of the tree, the boys’ choir Cantores Minores sang for the presidential couple in Mäntyniemi’s Grand Salon. The choir performed Arkihuolesi kaikki heitä by Leevi Madetoja and Silent Night by Franz Gruber.

Next in line was Folkhälsan, a Swedish-speaking civil society organization promoting better health and quality of life. Folkhälsan’s Christmas greeting was presented by Tom Böhling, Vice President of the Board, after which Lucia of Finland 2023, Madeleine Amoroso, and her procession of handmaidens, arrived singing Sankta Lucia. Lucia, bearer of light, traditionally visits numerous hospitals and nursing homes in December and January, bringing light and peaceful joy to the darkest days of winter.

After the music, the Helsinki branch of the Finnish Florists’ Association presented its floral greeting. Representatives of animal welfare and conservation organisations presented the President and his spouse with a basket of vegan products from Finnish growers and producers.  The basket included, among other things, cranberry juice, organic apples and a non-alcoholic fizzy beverage made from blackcurrant leaves.

The Vehmaa branch of the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners provides the traditional Christmas ham. This year the greeting from Korpo, an island community located in the Archipelago Sea in south-western Finland, was Baltic sprat, as the traditional Christmas pike could not be caught due to the frozen sea. The sprat had been caught by Tore Johansson, a pilot boat driver living on the island of Aspö. Together with his wife, he had processed the fish into sprat pickle.

Finally, the Finnish Karelian League presented the presidential couple with Karelian pasties and other freshly baked savoury pastries. The pastries were made by the women’s committee of the Salo district of the Finnish Karelian League.

The President and his spouse warmly thanked those who brought greetings and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.