On 6th December 1917, Finland declared independence from Russia, putting an end to foreign rule dating back to 1809. It is now the date of Finland’s Independence Day (Itsenäisyyspäivä in Finnish). Finland also commemorates the events of World War II on this date with official speeches and visits to war memorials.
Aside from a military parade and a religious service held at Helsinki Cathedral, lively celebrations take place throughout the country. Shops decorate their windows in the colours of the national flag and bakeries prepare cakes with blue and white icing. In the evening, people light two white-and-blue candles in each window of their home, a tradition symbolising a silent protest against Russian oppression.
Did you know?
Each year, on Independence Day, the Finnish national broadcaster YLE broadcasts the film adaptation of Tuntematon Sotilas (the Unknown Soldier), an iconic novel by Väinö Linna that chronicles the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1944.
While there are no traditional dishes prepared for Independence Day, many Finns bake puff pastry plum tarts or gingerbread biscuits as seasonal treats enjoyed in winter.
Do you want to celebrate Finland Independence Day? The Speech Repository’s Finnish section features nearly 80 speeches of all levels just waiting for you: put your interpreting skills to the test!
Happy Independence Day and enjoy your practice!
Your Speech Repository Team