December 6, 2011

Finland's Independence Day / Itsenäisyyspäivä

Finland's Independence Day (Finnish: “itsenäisyyspäivä”) is a national public holiday held on 6 December to celebrate Finland's declaration of independence from the Russia. Finland was declared as an independent state, on 6 December 1917. Independence Day was first celebrated in 1919.

There are state festivities on Finland's Independence Day and the national festivities commence with the raising of the flag on Tähtitorninmäki ("Observatory Hill"), in Helsinki. On every year the movie adaptation of "The Unknown Soldier" (Finnish: "Tuntematon sotilas") is broadcasted on TV. The movie is based on "The Unknown Soldier", a novel by Väinö Linna. The story is about the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union as told from the viewpoint of ordinary Finnish soldiers. It is traditional to light two candles in each window of their home in the evening (from 6 to 8 in the evening) to remember daring plan of the light infantryman (“jääkärien”) for liberating our native country.

In the evening, the Presidential Independence Day reception is held for approximately 2000 invited guests at the Presidential Palace. This event, known as "the Castle Ball" (Finnish: “Linnan juhlat”), is broadcast on national television and has been a perennial favorite of the viewing public.

We made tofu burgers and we destroyed them while watching “the Castle Ball” and commenting the gowns on our own commentary (the Ball is commentated in either Finnish or Swedish – depending on which channel you’re looking at).

 We made vegan tofu patties and hamburger buns from scratch.

On every year there’s ”Patriotic Festivities” (Isänmaallinen juhla) at Tampere-talo and it turned 50 on this year. I’ve been there on many years but last year was skipped. But it was so nice to be there again! There were choir group ”Mieskuoro Laulajat” and with them were “Eagles Brass Band” (”Kotkien puhallinorkesteri”). This time also were a choir group ”Seniorikuoro Konkelot”. The song ”Finlandia” (by Jean Sibelius) was amazing as always, and especially it was sang by TWO choir this time. I always wait “Finlandia” the most – it is SO important to me on Finland's Independence Day. I’m happy this has become a tradition already – and there’s my own father and godfather on the choir.

At the end of the celebration we all stand up and sing “Maamme”, the Finnish national anthem.

I was browsing through my old files and found a few pictures from 06.12.2008 show, three years ago:

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