Swedish-speaking Finns & Saint Lucia Day

Dec 15, 2018
Minorities


In every country in the world the minority groups are usually in a constant fight on their rights. They might be recognized as the second official language in the country but other than that, they are pretty much oppressed. Some examples of oppressed minorities in the world are the Albinos of Sub-Saharan Africa, who already suffers from many health problems with the extreme discrimination towards them. In the USA it’s not a secret that Afro-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans are being mistreated along the country’s history till today. In 77 countries around the world homosexuality is still illegal (a close example is Russia, which only going backwards regarding to the right of their religious and LGBT citizens). And last example, which we can notice its minority here in Finland are the Kurds, who’ve been treated like captive people in Turkey and Iraq.

The Elite Minority in Finland?

In Finland (as in many other aspects), the situation is very different. Here, the largest historic minority are the Swedish-speaking Finns, they constitute around 5.6% of the Finnish population and some of them are the ELITE of Finland.

But let’s start from the beginning. The first evidence of their presence in Finland was from the eight-century in the Åland Islands in western Finland. Then they were simply farmers and fishermen. But over the centuries they climbed up the social scale till they made up to the country’s governing elite. Even when Finland was handed over to Russia in 1809, the aristocracy and nearly all those in government positions, in courts and in education, were Swedish-speakers Finns.  

Nowadays, Swedish is the second official language in Finland, and all national and local government had to provide their services in both languages. This minority is well present in various sectors of society, such as, the Swedish People’s Party (SEP), which hold 10 seats in the parliament (09/18) and the unofficial Swedish People’s Assembly which represent all members of the minority in regular governing institutions. They are especially strong in some financial communities and in the shipping industry. There are also two Swedish-language universities and several bilingual universities.

Saint Lucia day- A Brand name or more?


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Among other privileges, Swedish-speaking Finns enjoys their own historic holidays and celebration such as Saint Lucian Day on December 13. This Swedish Catholic and Orthodox historic annual tradition it’s the closest royalty event in Finland (besides the president’s Independence Day celebration). One chosen Swedish-speaker Finn girl has the honor to be “the Lucia of the year”. The lucky girl is usually in her late teens and early twenties, wears a crown with tall white candles (to spread light on the darkest time in Finland) and sings ancient Swedish songs in the famous Helsinki’s Cathedral. She represents the fourth-century Italian martyr Lucia. This event is celebrated also in Swedish homes, schools and kindergarten, when girls dream about the day when they can be the real Lucia.   

Tens of thousands of people come to center of Helsinki to cheer and wave to the year’s Lucia. But Lucia has a social responsibility as well, as she raises money to help children who have experience violence at home. Lucia also visits hospitals, orphanages, day care centers and nursing homes.

This year, 2018, a fifteen years old girl from Kokkola (western Finland) is the first Finland’s Special Lucia from a group of young women with physical and developmental disabilities. Therefore, another minority group is in the spot light for a very good and important purpose. Finland’s Special Lucia explains how mean and cruel people can be towards people with disabilities and wants to raise discussion about the rights of kids with special needs, where they don’t enjoy all of Finland’s equal benefits. This young girl is definitely spreading the light of the need of equal rights for all in her words and intention.

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Written by: Dana


Comments

Nir 16.12.2018 05:57
Very beautiful and deep writing! Contiue like that :)
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