Today Finland celebrates its independence. I have written before about the history of my country of birth, and about what being in independent means to a Finn, here. But this year, today is even more special for me, because the main celebrations are being held in my home town of Tampere.
|Finnish flags flying at Tampere Hall. Photo: Jukka Kuusinen/Yle|
The highlight of the day, the Presidential Ball is taking place in Tampere Hall, a concert centre, because the Presidential Palace in Helsinki is undergoing major renovations. Big Sis who’s in Tampere at the moment, tells me there’s been a lot of hoo-ha in Finland about the lack of any dancing during the ball. It’s a bit of a tradition in Finland to see how well the President, or the ministers, or various celebrities who’ve been honoured with an invite to the televised Ball fare on the crowded dance floor. ‘This year it’s going to be a different kind of Independence Day – a celebration the Tampere way,’ my sister said to me over Skype and threw her head back and laughed.
Our home town is indeed a bit different – dubbed the Manchester of Finland, it has its roots in heavy industry and the working classes. Although nowadays the industry, instead of being heavy metal and cotton mills, is information and communication technology and skilled engineering, so the town is more white collar than blue collar. To me, Tampere still feels different, more old-fashioned and traditional than, say Helsinki or Turku.
In any case, even if there’s a departure from important traditions, such as dancing, I still hope the celebrations in Tampere go well and the organisers do the city proud. If you want to see what really goes on during the Independence Day in Finland, you can follow the celebrations from my home town on YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Corporation) here.
Hyvää Itsenäisyyspäivää kaikille suomalaiseille!