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Statue of Minna Canth wreathed in Kuopio for 22nd time

In Finland March 19 is an official flag day celebrating Minna Canth, one of the 19th century's foremost Finnish equal rights activists and authors. A statue of the early Finnish feminist in Kuopio was given a traditional wreath of flowers on Saturday.

Kukkaseppele asetetaan Minna Canthin patsaalle. Lions Club Canth Kuopion presidentti Ulla Paksula seppelöi Minna Canthin patsaan Kuopiossa.
Statue of Minna Canth being wreathed by Lions Club Kuopio president Ulla Paksula. Image: Pekka Niiranen / Yle

A wreath of flowers was placed on the brow of the statue of writer and activist Minna Canth (1844-1897) on Saturday, May 19, the official commemorative flag day of the celebrated author.

After the flag-raising in the yard of a school bearing Canth's name, president Ulla Paksula of Lions Club Canth Kuopio climbed atop the six-metre statue of the author and placed a plastic wreath of flowers on the statue's head.

Minna Canth's flag day is also known as the Day of Equal Rights, a nod to Canth's pioneering social work and literature.

"Minna Canth would surely have looked on in sorrow at the plight of the men, women and children currently fleeing to Europe," says Atte von Wright, chair of the Canth appreciation society.

Canth was a realist author who wrote about phenomena that other writers of her time would not tackle, including the living conditions at a Kuopio poorhouse for destitute families. She also spoke several languages, subscribed to foreign magazines and adopted concepts from abroad into her work.

The playwright and prose author is considered the very first female Finnish language journalist who did much to improve young women's education prospects in Finland. To this day Canth is also the only Finnish woman to be given their own flag day.

March 19 has been an official national flag day in Finland since 2007, and the statue-wreathing ceremony has been an annual event since 1994.

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