100,000 Strong Celebrate the Centenary of Finland’s Independence on New Year’s Eve in Helsinki

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It was one amazing party. And a well-organized one. The City of Helsinki and the government joined forces in the most successful collaboration to date; the centenary celebration of Finland’s independence offered a program of over 300 performances, including popular singers, wild dancers, circus acrobats – something for each and everyone. It was a New Year’s party joined by 100,000 people from around the world, exceeding the expectations of the arrangers of 60,000 people celebrating the New Year at the Töölö Bay area and the Citizens’ Square.

The celebration began on Saturday afternoon at the Hesperia Park next to Töölö Bay. Families with children were walking in the electric blue lights and smoke blowing off from machines while marveling Karri Kola’s visual light installations.

At eight, Mannerheimintie, the busiest street of Helsinki, was blocked off from traffic from the National Opera to contemporary museum Kiasma. There were people dancing to a beat of a DJ. Needless to say, the setting was surreal.

While the day was filled with the centenary program from art exhibitions to a guided tour among the statues of the former presidents, the party started really lighting up when the hands of the clock moved to nine.

That’s when big-name Finnish singers started performing at the Citizens’ Square on the 16-meter high stage, wide as an ice hockey rink. From among many performances, Saara Aalto’s interpretation of “Chandelier” pulled some of the loudest applauds of the evening. Michael Monroe and Robin with his 100 dancers were also crowd favorites. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä also visited the stage and said that when partying “the style is free.”

The evening peaked to a beautiful but compact massive fireworks display.

After about 5 minutes it was over.

But screams of “Hyvää uutta vuotta (Happy New Year)” could be heard long into the night.

 

Fireworks illuminate the back of Finlandia Hall during the centenary celebration of Finland's independence on New Year's Eve in Helsinki on December 31, 2016. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Fireworks illuminate the back of Finlandia Hall during the centenary celebration of Finland’s independence on New Year’s Eve in Helsinki on December 31, 2016. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

 

A massive crowd watching the fireworks. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

A massive crowd watching the fireworks. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

 

Over 50,000 people squeezed into the Citizens' Square to watch stellar performances of Finnish artists. According to police, the New Year's celebration was joined by 100,000 people. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Over 50,000 people squeezed into the Citizens’ Square to watch stellar performances of Finnish artists. According to police, the New Year’s celebration was joined by 100,000 people. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

 

Saara Aalto melted the crowd. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Saara Aalto melted the crowd. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

 

Many were waiting to see Robin. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Many were waiting to see Robin. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

 

Karri Kola's visual lights installations illuminated the Töölö Bay area. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Karri Kola’s visual lights installations illuminated the Töölö Bay area. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today