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(That’s our president right there, pic hinted to me by reproduced-reality)
I’m not sure how other countries celebrate independence days but in Finland you wont see anyone on the streets celebrating loudly (Unless you go to the cemeteries where some people might take a walk and lay candles to the graves). Finns respect holiday this important by silence and peace. It would be rude to carouse on the streets.
Traditionally people mostly spend Independence Day at home with family. They eat something, probably sauteed reindeer with mashed potatoes or Karelian stew. Then, of course, there’s blue and white coloured candles lighten up in front of the windows.
In my childhood there was absolutely nothing interesting from TV, only war documentaries and “The Unknown Soldier” movie coming in the afternoon. Today there’s plenty of cartoons and “The Unknown Soldier” is shown later in the evening (and you can decide whether you’ll watch the movie, Lordi’s winning at Eurovision Song Contest or Finland-Sweden 2011 Ice Hockey World Championship Finals).
But to the Main Event: The broadcasted President’s party from TV, the “Castle’s Party!” This year it’s different because the “castle” is under renovation but I guess the main idea stays the same: We watch TV for three hours and watch as famous people and people on high position shake hands with the President Sauli Niinistö and his wife. And of course you judge all female dresses and condemn etiquette blunders. There’s a concert afterwards but I guess that’s the part of the party we wont get to see.
As requested, here is some lovely and cheery Finnish christmas charols with traditional and heavy metal versions. Some of these are from pikkulaku’s list:
Varpunen jouluaamuna” (Sparrow on a Christmas Morning)
Tells a story of a girl and her dead little brother. The brother has died of famine, but visits the girl on Christmas morning in a shape of a sparrow. “The morsel of food you offered brought me from the land on angels.
"Sylvian joululaulu" (Christmas Song for Sylvia)
A poet is in Mediterrian countryside on Christmas, where everything is in bloom and trees are lush. He misses FInland, and expresses his longing by singing about a bird in a cage, who stops singing and finally dies.
"Hei tonttu-ukot hyppikää" (Jump, Christmas Elves)
Don’t let the happy jumping fool you. The song reminds us, that “life is short, and it’s mostly dark and gloomy”.
"Tonttu ei vaan saa unta" (The Elf Can’t Sleep)
Incredibly long and sorrowful song about House Elf, who can’t sleep but wonders about his farm, checking on the people and livestock.
"Me käymme joulun viettohon" (We are celebrating Christmas)
Song about how we are celebrating the Christmas, eating well and giving each other plenty of presents. In the same time the heavenly child is empty handed and forgotten and, depending how you understand the song, lost or suffocated by the snow.
"Konsta Jylhän joululaulu" (Konsta Jylhä’s Christmas charol)
A song about a young boy who walks alone in the cemetary to lay a candle to his mother’s grave. The boy wonders if he’ll be ever able to celebrate Christmas with laughter like others do as his home feels like it’s not blessed at all. He hears a voice of the child of the Christmas who takes him back in time to witness the first Christmas ever.
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