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On Epiphany, January 6, president candidate Pekka Haavisto will play rock ‘n’ roll and evergreens in Helsinki. The tickets are 200 euros a piece to collect funds for his campaign.
But Epiphany offers more than that, except another extended weekend for those nine-to-fivers who after a wild New Year should have by now cured their cork flus.
On Saturday, Alkos are closed. And so are the post offices; health stations are closed and the emergency care in Helsinki is centered to the Haartman hospital. Trams, buses and metro are running on Sunday schedule. Most stores, however, are open.
In Finland, Epiphany is known as the celebration of the three wise men, the Magi from the East who brought gifts to the infant Jesus.
More commonly, most celebrate Epiphany as the end of Christmas time. It’s the last chance to eat that piece of ham, which has in the past week reminded of its mephitic existence every time the fridge was opened.
If the Christmas tree is still occupying the living room, Saturday is the time to get rid of it. But while across the bay in Estonia the ornamental evergreens are medievally cast in large bonfires, in Finland the naked fir tree is a common sight in the garbage collection of the condominiums.