It goes without saying that the music choice for today is Maamme-laulu (Our Land). After all, it is Finland’s 95th anniversary of independence. There are numerous YouTube offerings, and the one I have chosen features the amazing voice of Tarja Turunen (formerly of Nightwish). I’m not sure where the broadcast actually comes from, except that it was broadcast on YLE (Finland’s national broadcaster) for Independence Day 2007. I have an added dilemma of trying to weave in birthday celebration wishes to one of my loyal followers. In the end I decided that two theme tunes are better than none, so here is the other daily tune :)
Hippo, birdie, two ewe;
Hippo, birdie, two ewe;
Hippo, birdie, dear El Guaaaapooo;
Hippo, birdie, two ewe!
I’m not the only one who wished El Guapo a very happy birthday! There was a whole bunch of us, all with very different tributes. Here are a few links to get you started: Alex, Frank, Ginger, H.E. Ellis, Le Clown, M3, OMGJDWIS, and The Cheeky Diva. Check out the pingbacks in the comments here also. Then head over, answer the Friday Foolishness poll and wish him a belated happy birthday!
Independence Day is celebrated in true Finnish style. It’s the day we told the Russian Empire, thanks for everything, we’ve had enough and it’s time to do our own thing. Yes, that is a very simplified version of events and history buffs can start by looking here to get a better idea of the background.
It is public holiday today, and so there are always huge queues in the supermarkets the day before. Never mind that the very same shops will be open tomorrow. I never understand this, although I contribute to the last-minute crowds every time too! This year we’ll be eating Vorschmack and then we’re going to sit back and watch the party at the castle (Google the phrase ‘linnan juhlat’ and swap to pictures – it’s something else!).
The first time I saw this spectacle was 2001 and my reaction was along the lines of ‘you have to be kidding me, what foolishness is this’. The president and their spouse stand in the official ‘castle’ entrance hall and a long line of who’s who in Finland pass by, say hello and continue on to the reception. It’s televised and so there is continuous commentary of who the people are, who their avec is, in the case of the women who designed the dress and on and on…
I was lucky that my MIL gave the people’s version of who’s who. This one used to be a Miss Finland, this one married three times already, this man is from Rauma (where I was living at the time). Very different to the official commentary! We got to ooh and aah over the dresses, roll our eyes as some of the more ridiculous outfits paraded past the cameras and generally had a fun night. I’m fairly sure it is a scene repeated across the country.
I’ve left out one small step. At 6 pm we light two candles and place them in the window. It’s a tradition that harks back to the times when families could advertise safe accommodation to travelers fleeing the Russians.
That first year set the pattern for my every Independence Day since. The food varies, everything else remains the same. As each year goes by, more and more faces become familiar and now I understand the broadcast and the little subtle comments that pop in here and there. MIL and I will swap text messages during the evening until one of us breaks and rings with the ‘breathless’ comment ‘did you see that dress!!!!’
As well as captains of industry, the diplomatic community, veterans and sporting heroes, regular hard-working citizens get invited also. This year I actually know one of the invitees and she deserves her invite 110%. (Her work is with youth that have fallen out of the system and helps them develop their skills and find the path that works best for them – it’s the Vamos Project and unfortunately I can’t find anything in English.)
This was on my home page this morning and Mr. 13 asked if all Google sites have the same. I went to Australian Google and it was just regular, Sweden the same and when I tried Google.com it brought me back to Google.fi. So I am none the wiser. Perhaps one of my followers can enlighten me!
That got me thinking though: should Google celebrate every event on all sites or keep it local. Because I live in a democracy here is a little poll to get the process started. If you’d like to leave a comment, please add some means of identification. If we’re still around next Independence Day I’ll publish the results!
Back to December the 6th and El Guapo’s birthday for just a second here. His Friday Foolishness posts and polls are the best thing published on Friday. Tying equally for first place is the great community that follow him and take part in said polls. I’m honoured to be one of them. I think I look forward to the other answers and his comments as much as the actual polls themselves.
I discovered him around the time of this anniversary post. I was very new to the blogging world and not quite sure about the etiquette of commenting to complete strangers. More fool me. He’s a guy with a really big heart who knows the word for green in more than one language and Finnish to boot, although for the life of me I can’t find that particular post.
El Guapo is one of the special bloggers that make blogging fun. Well my friend, the earth has traveled once more around the sun. Wishing you a great and foolish birthday! If you like, you can impress your friends by sharing the fact that today every flag in Finland is flying, ’cause it’s a birthday ;)