Happy 99th Independence Day

Today marks the celebration of Finland’s 99th Independence Day. We wish all Finns and Friends of Finland a Happy Independence Day! In the words of our President Sauli Niinistö: “– Each and every Finn has the privilege of celebrating and honouring our country’s independence” and “–Finnishness knows no bounds”. You may read the message here:

Independence Day message from President of the Republic of Finland

The Finnish Society of Melbourne organized a celebration at the Finnish House on Sunday the 4th December. Around 80 people took part in the celebration, starting with Church Service and followed by a Flag Parade, festive music, dancing and speeches.

Everyone joined in on singing the National Anthems of both Finland and Australia, with Minna Ikonen on the piano. Then, appropriately, the Spirit of Finland Choir continued with Finlandia.

President of the Finnish Society of Melbourne Jori Tossavainen welcomed everyone, and Editor of the Finnish Newspaper Risto Söder gave a festive speech. A greeting from the Pentecostal Church was delivered by Auvo Karjalainen. The audience also got to enjoy Reverie by Sibelius on the piano played by Larissa Cox, as well as wonderful performances of the Pentecostal Singers and Spirit of Finland. A truly traditional experience of Finnish dancing was offered by the FSM Folkdance Group before finishing up with a taste of Finland in the form of Afternoon Tea.

The most essential and important part of the Independence Day celebrations, as always,  was honouring the Veterans. This was accompanied by the traditional song Veteraanien Iltahuuto. “The sixth of December is — a mark of respect for all those who have defended and nurtured our independence”, writes the President. We have a lot to be grateful for. Happy Independence Day everyone! 

Photos by: Petri Jokela

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