On this date every year, the Declaration of Christmas Peace is read aloud at noon in the Old Great Square in Finland’s oldest city, Turku, a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. With fanfare and warning, the declaration calls for quiet and peaceful conduct during the Christmas period, including no animal hunting. It is broadcast throughout the country every year on December 24.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- Silent Night was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber (1818)
- Verdi’s opera Aida premiered at the opening of the Suez Canal (1871)
- First broadcast of a music program on radio, from Massachusetts (1906)
- Albania became a republic (1924); Libya (1951) and Laos (1954) gained independence
- A rare Christmas Eve snowstorm fell on the southern U.S. (2004)
And, on this day in 1914, the Christmas truce of World War I began when German troops fighting in Belgium began decorating their trenches and singing Christmas carols. The British troops on the other side soon joined in the singing and soon these soldiers greeted each other on the plains between them, putting the war on hold while exchanging gifts of whiskey and cigars.