Monday, November 8, 2010

Tampere, Illumiated

For 45 years now, the city of Tampere has held a ceremony, illuminating their main streets during this increasingly dark time of year. On October 29, 2010, we were lucky to find out about this year's celebration right before it happened, so we walked to the main square and were happy we did.

A school brass band played a couple of songs, and this was followed by an amazing group who love fire and proved it by baton twirling, hula-hooping and jump roping - with blazing batons, hula-hoops and ropes! Have you ever seen a guy on stilts wearing reindeer antlers on his head, jumping rope with a completely flaming rope? We had not, either... but now we have. It was great.

After the death defying tricks by the fire loving twirlers, the street lights in the square were turned off, and we were treated to a fire works display worthy of the tradition of fireworks. Bryan thought it was the best firework show he's seen, and while I wouldn't go that far, the show lasted quite a while and had one type of firework I've never seen (a large circle of red which held in its middle a flaming gold chrysanthemum).

The final part of the celebration was when decorative lights (think large flowers, snowflakes, horses and other shapes) above the main streets were turned on. The whole event took about a half hour, which was perfect as this time of year can be quite chilly.

We walked through the crowd toward our apartment and once again felt thankful that we live downtown where it's easy for us to participate in these types of events. Go Tampere!

For more information and a gallery of photos from past ceremonies, see this link: The word in the address, valoviikot, means light (valo) weeks (viikot).

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