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President presents honorary medals to 30 mothers on Finland's Mother's Day centenary

Every year on Mother's Day, the Finnish President awards a selection of exemplary mothers with the Order of the White Rose Class I medal.

Sauli Niinistö (vas.) tervehtii Aila Fageria valtakunnallisessa äitienpäiväjuhlassa Helsingissä
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö greets honouree Aila Fager in Helsinki Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Finland followed its annual tradition on Sunday by recognising a group of distinguished mothers who had been nominated by their families or communities. This year 30 mothers received the Order of the White Rose Class I medal from the Finnish President Sauli Niinistö at an official ceremony in Helsinki's House of Estates.

The mothers were awarded the medals for their exceptional skills in the area of child-rearing, social activism or community work. This year's selection included single mums, mums that looked after very large families, mums that were foster or support parents, and mums of children with special needs, for example.

The most recent data from Statistics Finland indicates that Finland has close to 1.6 million mothers, with close to 20,500 women becoming mothers for the first time in 2017.

Flowers from the forest

Mother's Day usually coincides with the blooming of wood anemones in Finland's forests. For this reason, it is also common for families to present mums with handfuls of the delicate flowers on their special day.

Valkovuokkoja.
Image: Jaani Lampinen / Yle

During Sunday's ceremony, Finland's Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Annika Saarikko mentioned the anemones specifically in her speech:

"The wood anemones of the sun-drenched roadsides and forests floors bloom for you, dear mothers. They are there to say thank you to the women who have arrived at the House of Estates today, whose life, love and actions have left an indelible mark on Finnish society."

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