A large group of people observed the traditional hoisting of the Finnish flag at Tähtitorninmäki in Helsinki at the morning of Independence Day, December 6, 2017. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Independent Finland’s 101st birthday will be celebrated this week with both new and familiar traditions. The celebrations on the eve of Independence Day, which began last year with Finland’s 100th anniversary, will be held this year, too.

The centenary of Finland’s independence brought new traditions to the independence day celebrations. In addition to familiar traditions, last year saw the emergence of many new joyful and collaborative events throughout Finland, as well as much-admired blue and white light installations.

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More than 500 children from all over Finland gathered at the House of the Estates in Helsinki for a children’s Independence Day celebration hosted by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä on December 5, 2018. Picture: Jussi Tolvanen / The Finnish government

According to the Finland 100 Centenary Celebration Report, nearly three out of four Finns felt that the celebrations for the centenary year were more cheerful than in previous years, and half of the respondents said they now consider Independence Day celebrations more important than before. Moving forward, Finns would like Independence Day celebrations to be cheerful, bright and communal. “Finland’s centenary year demonstrated that the themes of joy and light are welcome additions to the dignified Independence Day atmosphere. It’s great to see how many of last year’s ideas are continuing this year and will become new traditions over time,” said State Secretary Paula Lehtomäki in a bulletin.

One of the new traditions continued this year on the eve of Independence Day when more than 500 children from all over Finland gathered at the House of the Estates in Helsinki for a children’s Independence Day celebration hosted by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä. Every municipality in Finland had the opportunity to send two 10-year-old children to the celebration. The theme of this year’s celebration was reading and literature.

The Independence Day eve celebrations will also feature blue and white light installations. The government will illuminate the House of the Estates and the Government Palace in Helsinki on December 5 starting at noon and 18:00 respectively.