Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finding that Elusive Christmas Spirit

Turku Cathedral
Most years there's snow all over, making this
a prettier scene.

Since early November, there have been poorly decorated plastic trees prominently placed in many shops. This week, I had to suffer for almost 15 minutes in a queue, waiting to pay for a new pair of winter boots, while the awful Christmassy pop played in that store slowly melted my brain. It wasn't even December yet and I wished with all my heart that this Christmas nonsense would have been over and done with yesterday.

Then a friend reminded me that the traditional advent concert was happening this Friday. I'd completely forgotten that it would be so soon and rushed out just in time to get a couple of the last tickets. And then on Friday evening, something strange happened.

The concert is held at the Turku Cathedral and is performed by Brahe Djäknar and Florakören, both internationally awarded choirs consisting of Åbo Akademi University students, and the Symphony Orchestra of Åbo Akademi. Going to this yearly concert became a tradition while I was a student at the same university and I'm happy to continue it now that I've graduated.

As soon as the choirs entered the darkened cathedral, holding lit candles and singing "Veni redemptor gentium" (a very old hymn reworked by J. S. Bach), I got chills up my spine. This happens every time - somehow my body reacts physically to hearing something beautiful. Once the concert was over, I had been transformed from a grumpy curmudgeon concerning all holiday things to someone who thinks it isn't all that bad after all.

The rest of the evening included drinks with friends and unexpectedly ending up at what could be called a student street party with mulled wine. By the end of the night, not even the sight of a pink plastic Christmas tree in a shop window could deter my small but growing enthusiasm for Christmas.

I'm not sure how the advent concert manages to do this, but it always works. I guess it shows the lovely side of Christmas and reminds me of how it will be once Christmas Eve comes around and we're enjoying the holiday with family, instead of the icky commercial version we're stuffed with every day for 1 1/2 months.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a cool handmade advent calendar idea to realise, in order to nurture my delicate Christmas joy.


glasfaden said...

Lovely post, Morrgan! It's quite the feeling I have too. Moreover as I work in a shop, which started to sell Christmas things since October.
Great idea indeed with the Advent calendar, but I think I'll do it as every year: a treasure hunt. It's much more relaxing for me :)

Morrgan said...

Since October? You are a brave, strong person. ;) A treasure hunt sounds fun!

Kreativlink said...

I have that pysical reaction to music too. And I love it!

Well, glad to hear that concert worked so well for you. And that advent calendar looks great. But a lot of work, not?

Morrgan said...

Probably, K. ;) But I can't sit still anyway and it'll be so different from what I usually do that I hope it'll be fun to make. If turns out well we can use it for several years, if not, well, I'll at least have somewhere to store all those little bits and bobs.

I was hoping to get started tonight, but alas, matchboxes proved surprisingly hard to find. New try tomorrow.

Morgan the (Almost) Muse said...

That sounds great! But we started seeing Christmas decorations as early as July-August. Not a whole lot, really, but they were in a corner of the store somewhere, and when you stumbled upon them it was enough to make you laugh. Wandering around in shorts and a tshirt and sandals, looking at a jolly fat guy covered head-to-toe in red velvet? Too crazy!

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