The Finland 100 centenary reached its climax in Finland and around the world
The centenary of Finland’s independence has been celebrated across Finland and around the world. A range of events that took place over several days culminated in the Independence Day evening and the blue-and-white fireworks displays in many cities. Finland’s 100th anniversary will remain in Finland’s history as the most extensive and diverse jubilee year that Finns and friends of Finland created together.
“The Finns’ desire to celebrate their independence exceeded all expectations, and the centenary year turned out to be a very Finnish and a unique experience,” said Pekka Timonen, General Secretary of the Centenary of Finland’s Independence, Prime Minister’s Office, after the display of fireworks that officially closed the centenary year in Helsinki. ”The aim of the centenary was to strengthen the sense of belonging and to increase Finland’s profile abroad, two goals that we achieved by working together.”
The centenary proved to be the richest and most versatile anniversary or theme year of all time in Finland. Finland’s hundred years of independence was celebrated in every corner of the country as well as in more than 100 countries on all the continents. The open programme covered an impressive 5,000 projects, and more than 600,000 Finns and friends of Finland were involved in creating the programme. The projects materialised in tens of thousands of events. The open programme, its magnitude and the way the projects were carried out were unique even on an international scale.
From coffee breaks to guards of honour, from karaoke to the ball in the Presidential Palace
The centenary of Finland’s independence has been celebrated with aplomb both in Finland and overseas. The hundred-year-old Finland received several accolades already in the week leading up to the Independence Day itself.
The official Independence Day celebrations started on the eve of the Independence Day, Tuesday, 5 December, with blue-and-white light shows and by flying the flags. Hundreds of thousands of Finns shared coffee breaks to celebrate their hundred-year-old country. Parliament made a celebratory decision that supports the well-being and equal development of children.
One hundred blue-cross Finnish flags were hoisted during the official opening on the eve of the Independence Day at the Market Square in Helsinki. People continued their merry celebrations well into the night, and the Finnish flags were kept flying until the evening of the Independence Day.
The Independence Day, 6 December, started with church services and guards of honour at soldiers’ graves. Across Finland, thousands of young people set out to remember the deceased heroes who safeguarded Finland’s country’s independence. The Finnish Defence Forces’ Independence Day parade in Kuopio and students’ processions in several towns and cities added to the magnificent atmosphere and attracted large crowds of viewers. The hundred-year-old country was also celebrated at The President of the Republic’s reception in Helsinki.
The surprise of the Indepedence Day was, when seven million birthday messages were sent to Finnish mobile phone numbers. This was a unique achievement on an international scale.
The celebrations of the centenary of Finland’s independence reached its climax at the festive fireworks display at 10 p.m. in Helsinki. The spectacular Finland 100 display of fireworks was arranged to the tune of Sibelius’ Finlandia, and it also marked the closing of the centenary year.
The world turned blue and white for a moment
The hundred-year-old Finland was celebrated in a number of locations across the globe. Dozens of well-known sites and iconic landmarks around the world were illuminated with blue-and-white lights in honour of Finland. Several countries greeted Finland with messages from the heads of state. For example the heads of Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Sweden sent video messages to congratulate Finland.
“The amount of well wishes and cordiality flooding in has made us feel very grateful,” says Timonen. “Finland has friends all over the world, and people appreciate the values that we represent.”
All Finnish embassies organised a reception for Finland’s 100th anniversary of independence, and numerous Finnish communities held parties to celebrate their home country. Millions of people congratulated the hundred-year-old Finland with images and messages in the social media.