Yay! It’s Finland’s birthday! 99 years of independence! 😀
This is what it looked like last year:
No snow on the ground and the pond was flooded. You can see in the first picture (click on it to make it larger) how high up on the grass the water had been.
Today when I was out I took pictures of the same pond:
There is a thin ice on most of the pond, but on each side of the little bridge there is water running. Quite a lot of birds swimming in the water.
In an hour the ceremony will begin on the market square. I am not sure if I am going this year. They have a few speeches and two male choirs will sing. I don’t go every year (it’s just 30 minutes, the ceremony). Last year I went, and took the third picture of the statue.
Between 6 and 7 pm you are supposed to have the two blue/white candles in the window. It’s a tradition that many people don’t do any more. It was much more common before. But we still have the candles in the kitchen window. I think it looks nice. After 7 pm they are moved to the living room where they burn until we go to bed or until they are burned all the way down.
They have the big goat (second picture) this year as well, but I have no picture of this year’s goat. It looks pretty much the same as the one last year.
At 7 pm the big party from the President’s palace will begin. They show live on TV. Over 1000 people are invited each year. In the beginning of the party, the president and his wife will stand in a room (later they move to another room for the more prominent guests) and shake hands with all the people that arrives on the red carpet. Afterwards they dance and eat from a buffet (small pieces of cakes, pastries and other small salty/sweet things) and there are bands that play and sing in the palace.
In one city there is always a military parade. Finnish independence day is much about remembering and honoring the war veterans (there are only around 3000 left, as most of them are over 90 years old!), singing patriotic songs etc. And the candles of course in the windows. The party at the palace is very formal. It’s considered a huge honor if you get invited to the President’s palace on independence day. Most Finns never get the invitation.
Well, I will soon decide if I am going to the market square or not. Either way, I will watch some of the party tonight on TV, but not all of it.