Hello loves! It’s 6th of December.
You may wonder what’s so special about that day. Well for most people it may not be anything special, just a day amongst others but for us Finns it’s the day we celebrate our Independence. It’s our national holiday so everything: schools, stores and jobs are out for the day. 6th of December is the day we celebrate our independence and freedom but also the day when we remember those who fought for our country and gave their lives so we can have a free Finland. We don’t celebrate the day like many other countries do with huge parties or big fireworks. It’s more of peaceful, quiet and respectful event that is often spend with family. During the day it’s also a common thing to take candles to graveyard and to the graves of our fallen soldiers. Since my family isn’t form the southern part of Finland, at least originally, my family’s veterans aren’t buried here but up in the north so our family doesn’t traditionally go to the cemetery.
Quickly about Finland’s history. We gained our independence from Soviet- Russian at 6 of December 1917, which was during the I World War. Even though we had autonomy we still wanted to be our very own country so our military wouldn’t have to take part in the Soviet-Russians wars and during that time our neighbour in East wanted to cut down our autonomy rights. So we wanted to a different country. Today we have our 99th independence day! Next year is the big 100! And since I do love my country I want to dedicate this post to Finland.
I have certain traditions that I just find myself doing during this day. They are something my parents used to do when I was little and now I have adapted them to be part of my traditions. And I want to share these traditions with you because they are big part of me as is my heritage. So here we go!
Watch The Unknown solider
The unknown solider is a book by Väinö Linna (1594) – now bear whit me I’m not staring at a book for the hole day – that tells a tale of a Finnish soldiers when they fought in the Continuation War that was the war between Finland and Soviet- Union during 1941-1944. It’s a realistic telling of the horrors of the war and what was it really like to be on the front line. Linna himself fought in the war so even though the characters aren’t real people the book is realistic.
The novel has many colourful characters that have become strongly part of the Finnish culture. After it was realised there have been two movies made of it and a third one will air at 2017 to honour the 100th birthday. The first movie that was directed by Edvin Laine (1955) is shown on TV at 6th of December and I watch it every year. It makes me appreciate all those soldiers who fought in the war and were ready to sacrifice everything for our country.
Cover of the new Unknown solider movie (2017)
The original cover of the Unknown solider
Cover of the first movie
Have a fancy dinner
In my family we have this tradition that when it’s a holiday we like to cook a fancier dinner that we usually have and this is the case with Independence Day too. Most years we have a nice meal with wines and desserts and usually we have celebrated with my mother’s side of the family. I think you could call it our alternative of Thanksgiving. This year we will be eating just with my siblings and my parents (and yes I am going home for this, I wouldn’t miss my mum’s cooking.)
Salmon mousse on top of rye bread
Traditional Carelian pies
Watch Independence day party
Every year there is a party that the President (currently Sauli Niinistö) and their spouse (Jenni Haukio) host at the president’s resident at Helsinki. People who get invited there are politicians, former presidents, war veterans and Lotta’s (women who worked at different kinds of jobs during the winter war and continual war and made it possible for the men to go to war and fight for our independence.) Also people who have accomplished lot during the year get invited; athletes and singers and also regular people who have done something remarkable during the present year. It’s televised and also one of the most watched broadcasts of the year. Which can seem a bit funny because for the most part it’s people shaking hands with the president. But for some reason it’s fun. Although I have to admit, I mostly watch it because of all the fancy dresses. There really have been some absolutely gorgeous ones
Party at the presidents resident 2015
President’s castle at Helsinki
This one may sound a bit weird but here it’s a common thing to burn two blue and white candles. It’s an old tradition that has been around for ages even from the 17th century but then the reasons were a bit different. But the tradition has lived till today.
That’s all my traditions for Independence Day! Now it’s time to return to Celebrate today and our 99th birthday!
Hyvää itsenäisyyspäivää Suomi
Happy Independence day Finland!