Father’s Day has become an official flag day for the first time in Finland, placing it on the same level as Mother’s Day. Flags were run up the pole from 8am on Sunday morning to mark the occasion.
In March, the Council of State endorsed a change to related regulations that made the celebration of dads an official flag day. Prior to that, it had become a flag day in practice rather than in law.
"Eliminating the difference is in part a message from the state that parenthood is equally about joy and responsibility," said then-Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen.
Freedom to fly the Finnish flag
Regulations governing flag-raising days introduced in 1978 have only been changed once before, in 1996.
Finland currently has seven official annual flag days. In addition to these dates, Finland flies flags on election days and when the president is inaugurated.
Helsinki University’s official national calendar also includes 12 other flag days. In principle, there is very little difference between official flag days and the events that have become flag-flying occasions over time, according to the interior ministry.
Government agencies and institutions are obliged to put up a flag on official flag days. The interior ministry has advised that residents can fly flags on established occasions in the same way as on official flag days.
Either way people in Finland are free to fly the flag or not: everyone has the right to raise the national flag whenever needed – for a festive occasion, in mourning or as a mark of respect.