Finnish mayors mark National Independence Day
Finland marked its 104th Independence Day on Monday. The celebrations were largely impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor of Lahti Pekka Timonen stated on social media: “In the morning we laid a wreath for the city of Lahti and the Defense Forces in the Lahti Heroes’ Cemetery at the Statue of the Spirit of Freedom. The nationwide Independence Day parade was to be held in Lahti this year, but coronavirus spoiled the plans. However, the wreath-laying in the morning was celebrated by the overflights of the Hornets, and in the afternoon helicopters flew over the city. Happy Independence Day!”
Finnish president Sauli Niinistö has also canceled this year’s Independence Day celebration at the Presidential Palace, citing the deteriorating coronavirus pandemic situation as the reason. Much like in 2020, a virtual event was held during which the Finnish president and his spouse greeted the public.
Mayor of Tampere Anna-Kaisa Ikonen stated on social media: “The wreath is laid on the graves of the heroes with deep gratitude. Today we enjoy prosperity and a time of peace, but we cannot take them for granted. The future of our country, its defences and its prosperity must be built every day. It is our turn now. Alongside the serious and respectful celebration, it was a pleasure to share the joy and the future of our independence that was present at the Youth Council reception and the Children’s Independence Day. Happy Independence Day to all!”
Following a shift to Hämeenlinna last year due to coronavirus restrictions in the capital region, Finland’s Independence Day flag hoisting ceremony returned to Observatory Hill Park in Helsinki this year. The first flag-raising ceremony was held in 1927, but the custom was halted during World Wars. Mayor of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen stated on social media “Happy Independence Day” – in both Finnish and Swedish.
The parade that was supposed to take place in the city of Pori in 2020 was also canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Photo credit: Joakim Honkasalo/Unsplash