Fri, Dec 24, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Finnish Santa arrives, spreading holiday cheer

Staff Writer, with CNA

Celebrating Christmas has made strides in Taiwan, but it is still rare for the country’s children to have their picture taken with Santa Claus, let alone with one coming from Finland.

This year marked the first time that the Finland Trade Center, a Taipei-based trade office, has brought a “genuine Santa from Finland’s Lapland” to Taiwan, according to the office.

“The idea is to provide as genuine as possible a Christmas feeling to the people in Taiwan, and also introduce a bit of the Christmas culture,” the center’s representative Jari Seilonen told the Central News Agency.

About 400 groups of families or couples in Taiwan will be able to have their photo taken with the visiting Santa and a magic elf in Xinyi District’s (信義) Chanti Square tomorrow and on Saturday, said the event’s sponsor, -Citibank Taiwan.

Those who want to do so need to make an appointment at a booth on the square before tomorrow. A booth employee said the sizes of groups applying have ranged from two to 10 people.

“Some people immediately called their friends after signing up to encourage them to sign up as well,” he said.

To welcome the Santa Claus, Citibank Taiwan has built a Christmas City on the square that consists of a post office and a sled pulled by four fake reindeer.

It also features a Christmas tree with two 120-inch LED screens showing text messages sent by the public to convey their best wishes to their loved ones.

Many people were seen gathering at the square, bathed in blue lights, to take photographs of these installations at night.

The Finnish Santa, who arrived in Taiwan on Saturday, has come here to do more than pose for pictures. During his nine-day stay, he is also visiting local schools and hospitals.

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