This is the 99th time that the date 6. December has been significant in Finland. Since 1917 it has marked the freedom of this country.

For me Independence day has always been one of my favourite public holidays, right after Christmas. There’s something in the atmosphere of the day that makes it so special. It’s serene but joyful, patriotic but easy-going, family-oriented but social. J and I got engaged on 6. December 2007 since we both like the day so much.

The day in general includes visits to the cemetery to commemorate those who lost their lives in the war. Our nation is so tiny that pretty much all of us have relatives who have fought or served in some other way in the two wars between 1939 and 1945. We have military parades, speeches and medals awarded by the president.

Image: Ninara / Flickr

We have our blue and white flags flying in all poles, special pastries and chocolates, good food and two candles on the window sill. Towards the evening the spirit gets lighter, we might open up a bottle of bubbly and start preparing to get comfy on the sofa to watch the closet equivalent we have to the Oscars in Finland: the presidential reception. The president invites hundreds of people to a fancy reception at the presidential palace. It’s mainly local celebrities, politicians, business elite and ambassadors but also ordinary people usually commendable from something they’ve done during the year. The rest of us watch it on TV and try to pick out the nicest dress.


At the presidential reception media interviews the guests and usually they ask everyone of the significance of Finland’s independence to them. It’s become a bit of a cliche but I figured why not try to give you an idea of what the freedom of Finland means to me.

Safety

Safety. I am happy to live and raise my child in a country that is one of the safest in the world.

Education

Education. I've received free education from first grade to high school graduation all throughout to my master's degree from the University of Helsinki.

Education. I’ve received free education from first grade to high school graduation all throughout to my master’s degree from the University of Helsinki.

Language

Language. I get to speak, hear and read our own eccentric and difficult language every day and wait for my daughter to say her first word in our mother tongue.

Fresh air and nature

Fresh air and nature. Every day I am grateful to be able to breathe such fresh air and be surrounded by clean and well protected nature. This is the pride of our country which we should strive to preserve for future generations.

History

History. The history of our family is intertwined with the historical events of this country. What has happened to Finland has effected the lives of my grandparents and thus my parents and myself. There is a heritage.

Home

Home. No matter how far I travel I have a place to call home and a country to share stories of.

Happy Independence Day! And happy 99th birthday, Finland.


We are approaching a wonderful year of celebration for Finland as 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of our freedom. For more info visit the Suomi Finland 100 -site.