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Priest Elina Jokipaltio (left) and her colleague have mixed the water to the right temperature for me to sink my feet in. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

In order to celebrate Maundy Thursday like in in the Bible, I decided to head for the priests’ pop-up bathhouse set up by the priests from the Evangelical church at the corner of the Senate Square in Helsinki. They wash your feet for free like Jesus did on his disciples’ during the Last Supper.

Priest Elina Jokipaltio welcomed me happily in and all I needed to do was to take off my shoes (I didn’t wear socks today) and sit on a high bench by the window.

I got to choose from cold or warm water and decided to go with something in between. Elina put the water in a bowl. Then she sprinkled some foot bath salt in the water.


She massages my feet, slowly. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

I sank my feet in. She rubbed the salt all over. It felt good.

After massaging my feet for a few minutes, she washed them and dried them carefully with a white towel.

She asked if I wanted some foot cream on top. I did.


A luxurious treatment! Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Slowly, she rubbed the cream which smelt like Tiger balsam, a heavy peppermint kind of odour.

After the ceremony, she said I could relax for a moment and just breathe. I felt the cream tingling on my feet. I lost track of space and time.

Then it was time to get up, put my shoes on and let the next customer in.


The bench is ready for the next guest. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today


[divider]When and where?[/divider]

The priests’ pop-up bathhouse is open on Good Friday March 3 from 18-22 and on Saturday March 4 from 10-14. The address is Unioninkatu 25, next to the Senate Square in Helsinki.


Tony Öhberg