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Watch: Independence Day festivities kick off with official flag-raising ceremony

Finland’s Independence Day celebrations began on Sunday morning at 9 am with the traditional raising of the Finnish flag on Tähtitorninmäki in Helsinki. Independence Day is a flag day in Finland, so by law, the Finnish flag must be flown from public buildings from early in the morning until 8 pm.

Suomen itsenäisyyspäivän vietto alkoi perinteisin menoin, kun valtakunnallinen lipunnosto järjestettiin Helsingin Tähtitorninmäellä aamuyhdeksältä sunnuntaina 6. joulukuuta.
Watch the 2015 Independence Day flag-raising in Helsinki.

Celebration of Finland’s 98th anniversary of independence began on Sunday morning with the traditional raising of the flag ceremony in Helsinki. The event usually also includes a choir performance and an address from the Speaker of the Parliament.

This year Brigadier General Pertti Laatikainen was on hand, thanking the war veterans for their sacrifice and ruminating on the hallmarks of an independent nation in his speech.

“We Finns are fortunate to have been able to achieve a resolutely independent state," he said.

This year the Viipurin Lauluveikot male chorus sang for the gathered crowd. 

In line with tradition, the flag-raising ceremony was followed by an ecumenical church service at Helsinki Cathedral at noon, attended by the heads of state, and a military parade.

The parade is arranged in a different city each year and this year it is Jyväskylä's turn. Some 650 military personnel and 50 vehicles participated in the parade, which also featured impressive fly-overs by Hawk and Hornet fighter planes. A composition video of the parade will air on Yle's TV1 at 5.12 pm Sunday.

Several other cities throughout the country will arrange parades or concert performances yet this afternoon.

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