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News, 12/5/2003

Independence Day in Finland on 6 December

The Independence Day marks the day on which Finland delared itself an independent republic, in 1917. The 6th of December is in Finland a general festival and holiday.

The Independence Day was celebrated for the first time in 1919, but it legally become a general festival only in 1929.

Among its customs are official celebrations including visits to graves and monuments, church services, parades, musical matinées and parties. In the early evening, students march through Helsinki in torchlit processions from soldiers' graves to the central Senaatintori Square. Candles are lit in the windows of homes and offices at six in the evening and fireworks light up the dark winter sky. The President of the Republic arranges an evening reception in her residency. High administrative officials, the diplomatic corps, and citizens who have distinguished themselves during the past year are invited. The reception is unique in the world since it is televisied direct so that Finnish citizens can all participate in the event.

Finnish flags; photo P. Williams


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Updated 12/5/2003

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