Tove Jansson’s grave photographed at the Hietaniemi Cemetery in Helsinki on May 31, 2017. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

In the background, Moomin characters observe the graveyard from a lantern at Tove Jansson’s grave on May 31, 2017. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Aflag day for Tove Jansson? Sounds reasonable. In fact, why isn’t there one already? That’s the question Hanna Halmeenpää, a member of the parliament (Greens), started chewing on after a teacher of Finnish language contacted her and suggested the idea.

What is a flag day?
Finland honors its ancestors who have contributed to their culture by giving them a flag day. It could be their birthday or another significant day depending on their achievements. On these days, of which there are 18 throughout the year, every flag pole must bear the Finnish flag. It is truly a breathtaking site to behold. Thousands of flags fly high as each building has at least one pole and many streets are lined with flags.

According to a bulletin released by the Greens Party, Halmeenpää and her fellow party members put on their thinking hats – and started pondering on, what could be done to implement such a great idea – and soon the Swedish People’s Party (SPP) showed interest, too. Jansson, after all, was Finnish-Swedish. She passed away in 2001, aged 86.

Tove Jansson. Picture: Wikimedia

Tove Jansson is the most translated Finnish author to date. Moomins, her creation, are known around the world. Jansson’s books have been translated into over 50 languages.

Tove Jansson’s fresco from 1947 “Party in the City” decorates a red Bordeaux wine to honor the centenary of Finland’s independence. Picture: Altia Group Oy

Jansson has been working as an artist since the 1940’s. Her paintings are on display around the country from the kindergartens to the Helsinki City Hall.

The initiative of Greens and SPP has been presented to the Ministry of the Interior. The parties are suggesting that the date for the flag day would be August 9.

It’s the day of Tove Jansson’s birthday.

“It would be an appreciated gesture that Finland for its centenary would name Tove Jansson’s birthday to a national flag day,” Halmeenpää said.

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