Calendar Event Description
The movement for Finland’s Independence started after the revolutions in Russia (1917), caused by the disturbances from the defeats of the First World War. This gave an opportunity for Finland to withdraw from Russia. After several disagreements between the non-socialists and the social-democrats about the matter of who should have the power in Finland, the parliament, led by Per Evind Svinhufvud, finally declared Finland as an independent state, on the 6th of December 1917.
The national festivities of Independence Day, begin by raising the flag in Tähtitorni hill, in Helsinki. This is then followed with the festive divine service at the Cathedral of Helsinki, where by tradition, the President is also present. In the evening the President receives guests for the gala occasion which is held at the President’s Palace in Helsinki. Approximately 2000 people are invited to this banquet every year, and war veterans attend as the guests of honour. The event is broadcast on television, and although it is a very popular happening which collects millions of Finns in front of the TV every year, it also keeps the police busy due to demonstrators gathering in front of the President’s Palace.
Every Year on Independence Day, the Finnish Defence Forces arranges a military parade in one of the garrison cities. Independence Day is an official flag-raising day, and in every home, two candles are normally lit to honor the day.
Every Year an Independence Day celebration is held for less fortunate people, in Hakaniemi market square, organized by charities.
Finnish Independence day celebration is quite modest compared to many other nations’ parties and parades. For most it’s the two candles set on the window, a few thoughts to veterans who are still among us or passed away, Tuntematon Sotilas (Unknown Soldier) film and the independence day presidential reception on television.
Even though today, sixth of December 2012, is already our 95th independence day, its not very long since the last wars the Finnish had. Personnally I don’t think the wars are something to be proud of, but what happened, happened and can not be erased.
Horse friends always remember also the horses that were taken to the lines. Many of them never made it back home. There are dozens of stories when horses saved human lives and helped in countless tasks, as well as heartbreaking stories of horses and their owners reuniting after years of separation.
Let us hope no person, horse or any other creature should go to war ever again. We are having a Facebook event for war horses today, in honour of those who had neither choice nor understanding what was happening but still served well in those conditions. Welcome.
To learn more about Finland and its history, you might be interested in
- A Short History of Finland (amazon.com)
- The Winter War (TALVISOTA) film (amazon.com)
- The Kalevala: Epic of the Finnish People (amazon.com)
- Finland Travel Guide (Lonely Planet Country Guide) (amazon.com)