Finland's flag flutters in Helsinki, Finland, May 3, 2017 -
CAIRO - 28 November 2017: Finland will celebrate its centennial on December 6. The celebrations this year will be exceptional and will take place in more than 100 countries around the world through its embassies. Finland's story is exceptional and based on the values that the Finns cherish, including democracy, education, equality and freedom of expression.
Finland became an independent state on December 6, 1917. This modern state has emerged into the hands of the Finns after a long conflict. For over 100 years, the Finns have been involved in building their country and making decisions together. The 100-year period of continuous democracy is exceptional, and Finland has reached the top of various international rankings.
Finland's Independence Day will be preceded by traditional celebrations over several days. In the capital of Helsinki, the Finnish flag will be raised for two days in a row, and the whole country will be shimmering with blue and white lights.
Starting in 1809 and up to independence, Finland formed an autonomous grand duchy in the Russian Empire. This proved to be an important time for laying the societal and administrative groundwork that allowed the Finns to break with Russia in 1917. Before 1809, the area that is now Finland had been under Swedish rule since at least the 13th century.
At two o’clock on December 5, the day before Independence Day, people all over Finland have coffee and cakes together in anticipation of the holiday. Celebrations officially kick off the evening of December 5, when Helsinki’s Market Square becomes illuminated in a blue-and-white light show. The same day, large and small parties get under way at libraries, concert halls, schools, town squares and, yes, even karaoke bars, all over the country.
On December 6, flags fly high and the concerts and parades continue, and a multicultural Independence Day celebration takes place at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, with First Lady Jenni Haukio acting as the honorary guardian of the festivities. She has time to make it back to the Presidential Palace by evening for the annual televised Independence Day Reception. The assembled dignitaries, a couple thousand of them, line up and shake hands with the presidential couple on the way into the hall, according to Finland’s website.