Tuesday, December 6
Today Finland celebrates Independence Day in many different ways. Almost everyone has the day off work, although most shops remain open, with some closing early. Almost everyone spends the evening watching the President’s Gala on television and perhaps watching the movie adaptation of 1955 version of The Unknown Soldier, which has become a tv staple for Independence Day.
According to the YLE website the students march with torches through the city “from the Hietaniemi Cemetery at 5 pm and pass the Presidential Palace where the President usually greets the procession from the balcony. The march then proceeds to the Senate Square, where just before 6 pm patriotic hymns are sung by the Helsinki Male Voice Choir and the mayor of the city reads a speech.” They march in memory of students’ who died fighting in the Winter War.
We come across the students’ not from the start of their march when we find ourselves driving along Mechelininkatu. A policewoman stops us and we wait twenty minutes or so for them to cross the road.
I take some photographs.