Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rauma Day 026

Google.fi's Dcember 6th logo 
Today is December 6th, Finland's Independence Day.
It's a National holiday. It is not a celebration day like our Canada day, but more like a serious memorial day when people pay homage to war veterans and ancestors whose sacrifices made Finland independent.

There are Flag Days in finland, (days on which you are supposed to raise flag in your backyard) and Independence day is one of those days. Almost every houses in my neighbourhood has a super tall flag pole in their backyard. The flag can also be raised if there's a family celebration like wedding, and a half way raised flag means death in the family.
School closed early on the 5th, like many other public places and stores, and the flag was up.

Do you see the metal frame where my work (collaboration with students) will be installed?

Every Finnish students eat free lunches at school, and so do the teachers. And so do I!!! I've been eating at school, and it's a great way to discover everyday of Finnish life. This meal normally consists of salad, potato, meat or fish and gravy or sauce, the dried bread and butter, and endless supply of milk.

This meal was few days ago, it is salmon and potato in creamy sauce

This is the Day before Independence Day lunch. I got a Finnish chocolate as a bonus.  

table decor used at School cafeteria for the Independence Day.
lunch is over, and the canteen is now closing.

They used to cook various food in this "canteen" (they call a cafeteria "canteen"), but nowadays, there's a central kitchen in Rauma that distributes same food to all the schools in the region.

I wanted to experience something very Finnish for this Independence day celebration, so I went to see Rauma Men's Choir on the eve of the Independence day.

In the Rauma Hall, I was the only Asian, one of very few dressed in colour (pink!), and one of few "younger" generation among the elderly crowd. This hall has over 400 seats and it was packed.

The shy Asian girl has placed herself in the front center of the seats, so I got an excellent view to enjoy the event. It started with a march of the flags, men's choir, break (coffee and dessert time), veterans' choir, more men's choir, Jean Sibelius' Finlandia, finishing with the national anthem.

Table set up for the coffee and dessert break 
On the Independence day, after 6pm, Finns put two candles in each window as tradition.

During the war, the two candles in the window meant that "this house welcomes Finnish soldiers". So, it was a secret sign for sheltering Finnish soldiers from the Russians.

Another interesting Independence day tradition is Presidential Independence Day reception. It's a party for 2000 invited guests at the Presidential Palace. It's broadcasted on TV and I was told that most Finns watch it as a tradition. I think it's like Oscar, so as of tomorrow, I will see newspapers and magazines filled of best and worst dresses of the night.

Here you can have a peak.

It started from 6:35pm, there was a long line-up of dressed up people waiting to shake the president's hand. (btw Finland's president is the lady with the yellow band.) This lasted about 2 hours.

After, it was dance time, and it was a bit weird to see all these guests dancing cramped in the ballroom.  

Rabbit #6
Here is my rabbit #6, which I spotted weeks ago. It's a poster of a comedy called "my wife is like no other".