Celebrating Independance Day
Updated: Dec 5, 2023
On December 6th every year, Finland celebrates its Independence Day. To mark this occasion, the President of the Republic of Finland hosts a reception at the Presidential Palace. Those who have studied Finnish may already know that Finland was part of the Russian Empire from 1809. However, on December 6th, 1917, the parliament declared Finland an independent state.
How Independence Day is celebrated in Finland officially
As many already have enjoyed following the Presidential Independence Day Reception every year on the TV, they know that people are usually looking forward to arriving at 7 pm of the celebration day to turn on the TVs and take a comfortable seat to watch the official ceremony next to the warmth of their family and friends.
That is when the official Independence Day Gala called 'Linnan juhlat '(the Castle Ball) starts in the presidential castle in Helsinki. Since 1922, the ceremony has been held in the Castle Ball; about 2000 people are invited by the president as honored guests. These guests have contributed to notable and essential actions towards humanity for a better life in the society where we all share our lives. This can be in any sector, such as culture, business, music, politics, etc. Guests include diplomats, veterans, military officers, VIPs, star-selected guests, famous TV figures and musicians, etc.
Turning on two candles, white and blue
Lighting two unique 'white and blue' candles on the windows of houses is a charming tradition that holds a special significance, especially for kids who find it sweet, fascinating, and fun. This custom dates back to the war when families wanted to offer soldiers shelter and support, and help them hide from the Russians. By turning on candles on their windows, people created a silent and peaceful sign to show their support. Additionally, on the birthday of the poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg, there was a custom of lighting candles on windows as a peaceful sign of protest against Russian domination.
The reason for choosing white and blue candles might already be apparent to people because these are national colors, and the flag of Finland contains these two colors. If we want to be 'poetical' as well, white and blue are two beautiful symbols of honesty and peace.
Therefore, commemorating Finland's Independence Day would be meaningful and profound by emphasizing love, gratitude, and peaceful activities that highlight the country's strengths. Please have a look at this fantastic article on the power of gratitude.
How families celebrate the Independence Day
Every celebration in the calendar could offer us the fantastic opportunity of gathering with friends and families, sharing some relaxed and joyful moments together, and enjoying flavourful meals and drinks. As we mentioned in the previous section about the white and blue colors (the colors of the Finnish flag), these have also been used as a theme for bakeries, who use them to decorate cakes and sweet pasties very artistically. However, on Independence Day, people not only enjoy the unique, tasty dishes, but they also enjoy watching the TV, which includes music, dance, various shows, reports, and especially watching the long ceremony of guests' greetings and shaking hands with the president and his spouse. People enjoy watching all the guests dressed up beautifully and full of unique bright colors and patterns, and they have fun choosing their favorite ball gowns. That is also a way of enjoying time being together, why not?!
Some might visit the cemetery of the war grave and light candles there as well. All could be a very respectful and peaceful way of celebration anyway, no matter which specific activities we choose to have. Here, you can read more about Three ways to celebrate Independence Day.
Thanks for spending time and energy to read this article, and wishing you a Happy, joyful, and peaceful Independence Day.