Finland is facing an interesting dilemma. The country famous for advocating gender equality celebrates Mother’s Day as an official flag day but Father’s Day, which salutes fathers across the country tomorrow, on Sunday, November 11, is not treated as such. It’s only recommended that the flags will be hoisted, but the action is not required by law so that the official government buildings would be obligated to fly a flag.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, Finland has a tolerant flag flying culture. A small enough reason is enough to allow hoisting a flag.
However, there are six days stipulated by law when public buildings must fly a flag.
These days are:
- February 28, Kalevala day; the occasion is also celebrated as the Day of Finnish Culture
- May 1, Labour Day
- Second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day
- June 4, birthday of C.G.E. Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland; the occasion is also celebrated as the flag day of the Finnish Defence Forces
- Saturday between June 20 and 26, Midsummer Day; the occasion is also celebrated as the Day of the Finnish Flag
- December 6, Independence Day
- + Days when Finland holds parliamentary and local elections, elections to the European Parliament, or a referendum and the day the Finnish president is inaugurated
There has not been a need to increase the number of official flag days because of the aforementioned idea of promoting “a tolerant flag flying culture.”
According to Hanne Huvila, senior specialist at the Ministry of the Interior, Mother’s Day became an established celebration and a flag day already by the end of the 1970s—before even adding it to the law. On the contrary, Finland started celebrating Father’s Days more widespread in the ’80s.
But times are changing. Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen, a father of two, promised yesterday on Twitter, that “we will make Father’s Day an official flag day just like the Mother’s Day .”
Annika Saarikko, the minister of family affairs and social services and who is responsible in government matters related to equality, said earlier that “fathers deserve an official flag day the same way mother’s do.”
“I find it hard to come up with a reason why mothers and fathers should not be treated equally in this way, too,” she said.