Today, on Wednesday 4 December 2019, the Mayor hosts the traditional Independence Day celebration at Finlandia Hall for all Helsinkian fourth-graders. The surprise performance by singer-songwriter Jannika B at today's event has been kept a secret up until the last moment.
The schoolchildren will celebrate Finland's independence at three similar events, the first one taking place at 9:30–11:15 a.m., the second one at 12:45–2:30 p.m., and the third one at 4:00–5:45 p.m. The number of participants has been growing by the year, and this year there are in sum 6,086 fourth-graders. In addition to the Helsinkian fourth-graders, ten pupils from the Finnish-language school in Tallinn have also been invited to the party.
Handshaking, speeches and disco dance
Every fourth-grader who goes to school in Helsinki has received a personal party invitation from the Mayor. The children have spent the autumn preparing for the independence reception by learning traditional dances and good manners in view of the celebration.
Mayor Jan Vapaavuori and Mrs Vapaavuori as well as Deputy Mayor Pia Pakarinen and the executive director of the Education Division, Liisa Pohjolainen, greet the guests with a handshake.
“The children’s joy and enthusiasm really make our day and make it an unforgettable experience. The party is also a precious reminder of the fact that the country’s independence resonates with all of us and is something we can take pleasure in. The mood is certainly at its peak, as for the first time there are over 6,000 fourth-graders celebrating”, says Mayor Vapaavuori who hosts the event for the third time.
After having shaken hands with the guests, Mayor Vapaavuori will make a speech. In each of the receptions, the pupils will reciprocate and make a speech giving thanks, in both Finnish and Swedish. Singing of the national anthem Maamme will be followed by top artist Jannika B, accompanied by house band Must. As for the entrance and dance music, the Guards Band will play it, and the national anthem will also be sung to their accompaniment. Circus Helsinki and Queenz Dance Crew will entertain the celebrants as they stand in line for the handshaking and during the meal.
The fourth-graders will take possession of the dance floor after the concert and show off what that they have been practising all through the autumn: cicapo, jingle bells, jiffy mixer, rock 'n' roll and letkis, and for the first time at this party also disco dance, to the tunes of Pharrell Williams' “Happy”.
Tastes of local producers’ ingredients
Chef Markku Luola has composed the festive menu that he calls Makukaverit. The guests will be served a raspberry drink for starters ahead of proceeding to the culinary titbits. They can enjoy a savoury appetiser baked by Liepuska bakery, namely a rye & barley quiche served with Heikkilän Juustola’s Pikku-Iida cheese and tomatoes. The pH7 patisserie is responsible for the sweet treats, in this case caramel and cream cake.
Sixty students of the hotel, restaurant and catering business from the Helsinki Vocational College’s Roihuvuori unit will assist the Finlandia restaurant. Order will be maintained with the help of 45 students from Lauttasaari upper secondary school. Many of the assistants have once celebrated independence at the reception themselves.
Follow the celebration on the Helsinki Channel
The celebration of the fourth-graders can be watched live on the Helsinki Channel. The Helsinki Channel will transmit a general picture of the pupils and the celebrations as there is a prohibition on filming several of them. Therefore, the faces of individual students will not be filmed or photographed. All the day's celebrations will be broadcast live, and the recordings can also be accessed later on through the Helsinki Channel.
You may also get a feel for the celebrations via the party's Facebook page that will follow the events of the day closely.
The reception on Facebook
The reception website
How we came up with the idea for the event – Read Mayor Vapaavuori's blog
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