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Flags, processions and Presidential Ball

Independence Day observances on Thursday formally begin with a flag-raising ceremony in Helsinki, include torchlight processions by students, a national defense forces parade, and climax with the glitter of the President's Ball.

Presidentinlinna iltahämärässä
The Presidential Palace in Helsinki. Image: Touko Yrttimaa / Yle

The day started with a flag-raising ceremony at Helsinki's Observatory Hill at 9am, followed by an ecumenical church service at Helsinki's Lutheran Cathedral attended by the President, members of the cabinet and other leaders.

The annual military parade is being held this year in Kouvola. Taking part in that national event will be about 1,000 military personnel, armoured vehicles and about a dozen aircraft.

The day's programme also includes wreath-laying ceremonies at war memorials and torchlight processions by university students in many cities.

President Sauli Niinistö and his spouse will be hosting their first Independence Day Reception at the Presidential Palace.

The theme of the reception is ‘Finnish actions and work’. Following this theme, the guests include people whose actions and work have contributed to the wellbeing of Finland and the Finns.

Just under 1,800 guests in all have been invited.

The guest list includes employees representing more than 50 occupational groups and entrepreneurs, from small businesses to major employers and from start-up companies to growth enterprises and farms.

It is further complemented by leading representatives of culture and sport, again with an emphasis on merits through actions and work.

As in previous years, invitations have been sent to all the members of the Government, Members of Parliament and Finnish Members of the European Parliament, as well as senior civil servants and the diplomatic corps accredited to Finland.

The Independence Day Reception at the Presidential Palace will be broadcast live on Yle TV1 beginning at 6:50pm and streamed worldwide on Yle Areena.

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