Finland 100 observed at home and abroad
07 Dec 2017, 00:51 ( 07 Dec, 2017) | updated: 07 Dec 2017, 11:40 ( 07 Dec, 2017)
The nation celebrated the 100 years of the country’s independence on Wednesday amidst festivity and joy and showing due respect to the war veterans.
The centenary has been celebrated throughout the year in every continent, in more than 100 countries.
The official Independence Day celebrations started on the eve of the Independence Day, December 5 Tuesday, with blue-and-white lighting and by flying the flags. Hundreds of thousands of Finns shared coffee breaks to celebrate the hundred-year-old independence of their country. Parliament made a celebratory decision that supports the well-being and equal development of children.
One hundred blue-cross Finnish flags were hoisted during the official opening on the eve of the Independence Day at the Market Square in Helsinki. People continued their merry celebrations well into the night, and the Finnish flags were kept flying until the evening of the Independence Day.
The Independence Day, December 6, started with church services and guards of honour performed at soldiers’ graves, said an official press release.
Thousands of young people across Finland set out to remember the deceased heroes who safeguarded Finland’s independence. The Finnish Defence Forces’ Independence Day parade in Kuopio and students’ processions in several towns and cities added to the magnificent atmosphere and attracted large crowds of viewers. The hundred-year-old country was also celebrated at the President of the Republic’s reception in Helsinki.
The surprise of the Independence Day was when seven million birthday messages were sent to Finnish mobile phone numbers. This was a unique achievement on an international scale.
“Today Finland celebrates 100 years of independence - Happy Birthday everybody!” the anniversary text message said.
The celebrations of the centenary of Finland’s independence reached its climax at the festive fireworks display at 10.00 pm in Helsinki. The spectacular Finland 100 display of fireworks was arranged to the tune of Sibelius’ Finlandia, and it also marked the closing of the centenary year.
The Finland 100 was celebrated in a number of locations across the globe. Dozens of well-known sites and iconic landmarks around the world were illuminated with blue-and-white lights in honour of Finland. Several countries greeted Finland with messages from the heads of state. For example, the heads of state of Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Sweden sent video messages congratulating Finland.
“The amount of well wishes and cordiality flooding in has made us feel very grateful,” said Pekka Timonen, general secretary of the Centenary of Finland’s Independence at Prime Minister’s Office, adding, “Finland has friends all over the world, and people appreciate the values that we represent.”
All Finnish embassies organised a reception for Finland’s 100th anniversary of independence, and numerous Finnish communities held parties to celebrate their home country. Millions of people congratulated the hundred-year-old Finland with images and messages in the social media.
The menu at this year’s reception party featured foods from every region of the country and partly prepared by the students from Helsinki and Oulu catering schools.