This week, on the 6th of December, Suomi-Finland will celebrate its 100 years of independence. The independent Finland became a republic where the president is the head of state and the laws passed by a parliament.
The Finnish Parliament in the background
Itsenäisyyspäivä (the Finnish Independence Day) is a very meaningful and peaceful holiday. There are patriotic speeches, visits to cemeteries, tributes at war memorials and special church services. Every family has his own traditional meal and light up two blue and white (as the Finnish flag) candles in their windows. White and blue pastries are made as well and of course, the national flag is in every building.
The President Palace in Helsinki
The highlight of the day is the annual Independence Day Reception at the Presidential Palace. All the elite of Finland and special selected guests are invited to this event. Being invited is a great honor. Among the guests are high ranking military officers, politicians, police officials, diplomats, outstanding athletes, entertainers and activists. This important event is broadcast live on national TV, and almost every Finn watches it. While about 2,000 guests line up to shake the president’s and his wife’s hand, the TV reporters and the viewers at home comment about the guests’ partners, their body shape and the most important on their dress. For the rest of the evening, the guests will talk, drink, eat and dance. On the day after, the media and the rest of the Finnish population will discuss who had the best dress and other ‘meaningful’ gossip.
I must say that the way Finns celebrate their Independence Day was strange for me in my first year here. In my home country, the majority of people never stay home and watch TV, they all barbecue outside in the nature and celebrate with a lot of concerts and fun activities.
But this year, there will be many events because it's 100 years to Finland! Now it feels like home ?
No matter how you celebrate, it’s essential to celebrate the FREEDOM of your nation. It unites us all.
Written by: Dana
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