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Fifth- and sixth-graders to dance at Mayor’s Independence Day Reception

The Independence Day Reception hosted by Mayor Juhana Vartiainen for Helsinki’s fifth- and sixth-graders will be held at the Messukeskus convention centre on Thursday, 8 December and on Friday, 9 December. A total of approximately 13,000 pupils and their teachers are expected to take part in the celebrations.
Lapsia tanssimassa.
The last time the Mayor’s Independence Day Reception took place was in December 2019 at Finlandia Hall. Photo: Pertti Nisonen

Due to the COVID-19 situation, for the last two years the Independence Day celebrations have been organised as school-specific events. In order to ensure that all pupils will have the chance to take part in the unforgettable joint Mayor-hosted celebration,  this year fifth- and sixth-graders are being invited instead of fourth-graders this year. Next year, the fourth- and fifth-graders of 2023 will be invited. In 2024, the tradition of inviting fourth-graders will be resumed.

Surprise artist to perform on both days

As Finlandia Hall is being renewed, the celebrations will take place at Messukeskus Expo and Convention Centre in Helsinki. A total of four receptions will be held during the two days. Invited guests will get to enjoy refreshments and entertainment that also includes a surprise performer. 

The guests will be greeted by Mayor Juhana Vartiainen, Deputy Mayor Nasima Razmyar and Executive Director of the City of Helsinki Education Division Satu Järvenkallas. The Circus Helsinki group and the Guards Band will also perform at the events. In addition, the street dance group Queenz Dance Crew, including dancers from various youth centres, will perform. The performing artist will be different on both days. The surprise performer will be announced on the social media channels of the City of Helsinki at the beginning of festivities on both days.

Guardians and others interested in the festivities can watch a live stream on the Helsinki-kanava, the city's own video service. The celebrations and their preparations will also be covered in the city’s social media channels.

Traditional dances on display

Due to the exceptional circumstances brought on by the pandemic, the pupils have had plenty of time to practice the dances at their schools. Many traditional dances that are familiar in Finland will be performed by the children. You watch a preview of how the Kaisaniemi Primary School pupils practised the dances. The link to the video is at the end of this article.

Many pupils are eagerly awaiting the celebration, and much though is given to the dress code at home. The City of Helsinki and Mayor Vartiainen encourage everyone to participate in the celebration with an easy-going attitude. Guests can dress smartly or festive according to their own style, taste and possibilities.

The City of Helsinki has organised the Independence Day Reception for fourth-graders in Helsinki at Finlandia Hall since 1997. The reception, which brings together the entire age group of 10-year-olds, is hosted by the Mayor of Helsinki, previously by the City Manager of Helsinki. The overall planning and production of the festivities is the responsibility of Helsinki Events Foundation.

Preparations at Kaisaniemi Primary School for the Mayor’s Independence Day Reception

We went to Kaisaniemi Primary School to see how the pupils are preparing for the Mayor’s Independence Day Reception. (Video is in Finnish.)