Independence Day in Finland in 2023

  How long until Independence Day?
Independence Day
  Dates of Independence Day in Finland
2024 Finland Fri, Dec 6 National Holiday
2023 Finland Wed, Dec 6 National Holiday
2022 Finland Tue, Dec 6 National Holiday
2021 Finland Mon, Dec 6 National Holiday
2020 Finland Sun, Dec 6 National Holiday

Celebrates Finland's declaration of independence from the Russian Empire in 1917

  Local name

When is Finnish Independence Day?

This holiday is celebrated annually on December 6th and marks the Declaration of Independence from the Russian empire by the Finnish Parliament in 1917.

History of Finnish Independence Day

Finland had been part of the Russian Empire since 1809. Following the Russian revolution and the defeats in the First World War, movements within Finland pushed for independence from Russia and on December 6th 1917, the parliament declared Finland as an independent state.

How is Finnish Independence Day Celebrated?

First celebrated in 1919, Independence Day was initially a solemn occasion with patriotic speeches and special Church services.

In more recent times the Independence Day celebration has become a more vibrant occasion with the blue and white colours of the Finnish flag being proudly displayed in shop windows and bakeries producing cakes with blue and white icing.

Official Independence Day festivities usually commence with the raising of the Finnish flag on Tähtitorninmäki ("Observatory Hill") in Helsinki.

A religious service is held at Helsinki Cathedral, and official visits are made to the war memorials of the second world war. Another event is the annual military parade by personnel of the Finnish Defense Forces, which is one of the big highlights and is a nationally televised event.  

Some Finns spend the day watching the classical movie The Unknown Soldier from 1955 by Edvin Laine based on the novel of Väinö Linna, while others enjoy good homemade food, or simply enjoy Finnish winter activities.

An Independence Day tradition is for families to light two candles in the windows of their homes in the evening. This custom became commonplace during the 1920s and is said to recall a time when two candles were placed in the window as a sign to Finnish soldiers that the house would offer them shelter and hide them from the Russians.

It may also represent a custom of placing candles in windows on the birthday of poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg as a silent protest against perceived Russian oppression.

A tradition on the day is to watch the president’s Independence Day gala on television. 

Hyvää itsenäisyyspäivää!

Did you know?

Three facts about Independence Day

There are more saunas than cars in Finland.

Finland was part of Sweden from the 12th century. From 1809 until independence in 1917, it was part of the Russian Empire.

In Finland on National Sleepy Head Day (July 27th), the last sleeping member of the family must be woken with water. You can pour a bucket of water over their head or throw them into a lake, river or the sea. This holiday is related to the legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. It began in the middle ages with the belief that the person in the household who slept late on this day would be lazy and non-productive for the rest of the year.

More facts about Independence Day

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