Finland Independence Day History
Finnish Independence Day marks the independence of Finland and its nation-state birthday. The country became independent in 1917 following 108 years as an autonomous Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire. In World War One, the Finnish had to defend themselves from the Russian Empire and eventually won independence, with approval from Lenin’s Revolutionary Russia.
On Independence Day, there is a national variety performance for which Finnish rock bands and entertainers are the flag/guitar bearers. One custom that remains is the lighting of two candles in each window of the house at nightfall. This custom has been used as a silent protest against Russian oppression and to signal to Finnish soldiers that there was a room there if they needed it. Finnish Independence Day is celebrated annually on December 6.
Finland Independence Day Facts & Quotes
- The colours of Finland’s flag, white and blue, have become a theme of the day. Bakeries make cakes in those colours and people use them to decorate their homes too.
- In 2007, on the nation's 90th Anniversary, a €5 coin was issued to commemorate its liberation from Russia. The design includes a nine oar boat with the dates 2007 and 1917.
- The President holds an Independence Day reception for VIPs and selected guest. The attendees include high-ranking military officers, politicians, police officers and diplomats. Joining the spectacle are prominent athletes, entertainers and activists. About half the population tunes in. TV reporters then comment on what people wear for hours.
- Finnish Independence Day celebrates Finland’s qualities such as handwork and grit that helped it to gain and defend its freedom.
The people of Finland feel deeply that they cannot fulfil their national duty and their universal human obligations without a complete sovereignty. The century-old desire for freedom awaits fulfilment now; The People of Finland has to step forward as an independent nation among the other nations in the world. – Finnish Declaration of Independence 1917
Finland Independence Day Top Events and Things to Do
- Decorate your house with white and blue. The colours of the countries flag provide the visual theme for Finnish Independence Day.
- Bake some cakes and decorate them white and blue. Finland has its own cake called Täytekakku, which is similar to a gateau.
- Light two candles and put them in your window. This tradition marks several points in Finnish history.
- Enjoy some time away from the social aspects of Finnish identity and take in the natural landscape. Finland is covered in forest and has some true wilderness close to the Arctic Circle or explore one of the 179.584 islands Finland has to offer.
- See the torch procession in Helsinki. People wear white caps and carry torches, as per tradition, from Hietaniemi Cemetery to Senate Square to listen to speeches and music.