The celebration of Finnish Independence Day culminates to staying at home and watching TV. I can hear you say Whaaat?! To explain this, I have to start a bit further.
December is a big party month in Finland. We have Independence Day, Christmas and New Year. Not to mention the company and friend parties, all referred as ‘Little Christmas’ in Finnish language. Just google ‘Pikkujoulu’ to get an idea of those riots. Anyway, the Independence of Finland is celebrated on the 6th December and it is nice, loose family day.
Traditionally, we visit the cemetery and light candles to the graves so the whole area twinkles beautifully. Then we generally have a bit fancier dinner and burn candles at home. Many bake gingerbread or puffy plum tarts which are definite season treats before Christmas. The anticipated time of the day is at 7 pm! That is when the official Independence Day Gala called ‘Linnan juhlat’ starts in the presidental castle in Helsinki. It is the reason why every Finn is watching TV.
The president couple invites around 2000 guests to celebrate the night. These guests are people who have made something remarkable during that year among all sorts of things: business, culture, politics and humanity. The most exciting part of the program is the two-hour long shaking of hands. Yes! This is thrilling! To see what everybody is wearing, trying to guess what they are saying while greeting and who steps on whose dress. Seeing all that makes us very happy!