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Independence gala gaffes through the years

Guests attending the President’s Independence Day Gala don't always have the time – or inclination – to consult etiquette goddess Emily Post before they enter the presidential palace.

Video: Kahvipöytävieraita linnanjuhlissa

Yle’s archivists have assembled an instructional -- and perhaps entertaining -- sample of clothing and protocol gaffes committed over the years.

2011: Possibly overwhelmed by the grandeur of the occasion, ice hockey player Anssi Salmela neglected to shake hands with Pentti Arajärvi, husband of then-President Tarja Halonen.

2010: Journalist-writer Umayya Abu-Hanna offered a letter from her four-year-old daughter to the President. The child was upset at not being invited to the gala.

2009: Jenni Haukio, the partner of then Parliamentary Speaker Sauli Niinistö, caused a stir when she sipped her coffee with the spoon protruding dangerously from her coffee cup. The rules of etiquette (and safety) demand that the spoon be removed from cup before drinking.

2009: Tampere University Professor Howard Jacobs arrived at the gala in a Scottish kilt, defying etiquette calling for guests to dress in their own national costumes, and not that of others. Professor Jacobs is English, not Scottish.

2007: Castle cooks caused tempers to bubble by twirling and spinning as they tripped the light fantastic, although they were officially on duty during the gala.

2006: Fresh from the group’s Eurovision victory earlier that year, Mr. Lordi’s creepy frontman Tomi Putaansuu did not attend the gala, as he insists all of his public appearances must be done in full regalia – complete with monster mask. His wife Johanna Askola-Putaansuu attended in his place.

2004: Vocalist Jonna Tervomaa wore no undergarment beneath a rather revealing ball gown, providing other guests with a clear view of her twin peaks.

2003: Business guru Hjallis Harkimo showed up at the presidential palace with his girlfriend at the time, parliamentarian Merikukka Forsius. Unfortunately his ex-wife Leena Harkimo, also a parliamentarian, attended the gala too, and did not enjoy having to fraternise with the love birds.

2001: Lauri Ylönen, lead singer of the Finnish soft-rock group The Rasmus, brought his girlfriend Siiri Nordin of the band Killer to the castle, although protocol demands that only long-time partners can accompany invited guests.

2000: Hjallis Harkimo gave onlookers a shock – and no doubt his wife at the time, Leena Harkimo – when he trod on the train of her evening gown. Although pulses might have raced momentarily, no damage was done.

1998: National Coalition parliamentarian Party Anneli Taina wore her medals on her right breast instead of on the left, as dictated by etiquette.

1997: The Office of the President erroneously addressed invitations to Finnish members of the European Parliament to Strasbourg. The europarliamentarians reside in Brussels.

1991: Green League parliamentarian Hannele Luukiainen raised eyebrows when she arrived at the presidential gala in a gold mini dress. Female guests are required to dress in full length ball gowns.

1986: In the heated crush of hundreds of guests milling on the dance floor, performer Juice Leskinen removed his tie and wrapped it around his head to create a makeshift sweatband.

1983: Poet Arto Melleri succumbed to the power of the presidential punch bowl at an early stage of the proceedings and had to be escorted outside. Actor-director Kari Väänänen also suffered the same fate, proving that the punch packed – well, quite a punch. Väänänen left of his own volition, however.

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