Finnish Independence Day


Today is Finland’s 99th Independence Day. It’s a national holiday, and there were some happenings in town. First, there was a church service. I was not able to attend. Next there was an outdoor military ceremony, which I was able to attend. Over one thousand troops from the Kainuu Brigade were in attendance. A general gave a speech, and another man did as well. The whole event took about half and hour, and was followed by pea soup for all. It was pretty cold, about -2 degrees Fahrenheit, and the soup did an excellent job at warming us up as well as tasting pretty good. After that, we walked a couple blocks to the street that runs through the downtown area and watched a military parade. We had the opportunity to see the troops again, and we also got to see a bunch of military vehicles, which ranged from motorcycles to tanks to tractors to artillery. Four jets flew overhead, in tight formation, followed by some other planes and a number of helicopters. It was all quite interesting. The parade lasted around an hour, perhaps a bit less. After the parade, there was a military demonstration, but I was too cold to stick around and see it so I went home with some of my family. I was so cold that I wasn’t able to take many pictures, and the pictures that I did take were not good enough to merit exhibition on the blog; however, the day’s activites have been documented by others, and you check out some pictures at the Finnish Defense Force’s Facebook page if you like:

The amount of value people here seem to put on Finnish culture varies. I grew up in a community that seemed to think rather highly of Finnish culture, so this is interesting for me to see. The people I have talked to about this say that they see negative and more real parts of Finnish culture and life as well as the positive, and I believe that is why people here hold somewhat lower views of these things as compared to those in my home community. For example, Finnish high schools aren’t necessarily the learning utopia that some believe exists here, depression is a very real thing, and the neighboring Sweden is better than Finland in several areas. I suppose it would be similar to the international perception of the United States that gives the image of freedom and opportunity; it’s true in a way, but that’s hardly the whole story. An interesting thought for international perception of any country.

I have been doing alright. It’s been a tad rough in different areas in the past few weeks. I believe it’s because many things have been changing here recently, and I’m having to adjust for these new circumstances. I’m getting through it though, with God’s help.

Have a nice day!



2 thoughts on “Finnish Independence Day

  1. Don Kuiper

    Several times the desire to respond to your blog have come up in my mind, but I haven’t taken the opportunity to actually write something down and send it. The flip side of that reality is that I think of you often. Or better yet, Saturday morning I will go out to the ridge overlooking Lake Superior and pray that our Creator God will hold you in His hands, bless you, and keep you.

    I enjoyed the “musings” you posted. If you feel in that mood again, go ahead and write it. I enjoy them. Pictures are always welcome. Keep them coming as best you can.

    Your account of the Finnish Independence Day events was interesting because of the military focus. And, then you moved to cultural observations, then national and international thoughts. Good stuff. Your perspective is expanding, whether you like it or not.

    Winter is due to come in this afternoon. Heavy snow is expected over the next two days. So, life goes on here. You are about a third of the way through your Finnish adventure. By now the glow has worn off and it may seem a little depressing to be away from your roots here in Michigan. During our year in Mexico, we all experienced a low point emotionally. Just keep going; stay the course. You are currently experiencing an amazing amount of change and nine months from now you will look back and grin appreciatively.

    That is all I can write now. I hafta go to work now! Don


  2. jo ann culp

    Thanks Ben, your blog is always interesting. Fun to learn how other countries celebrate their independence. Also how they look at things and we perceive differently.

    Finally getting a good snow, colder everything looks so clean, as God dresses the land in all his glory.

    Ladies had their Advent Tea, Tuesday evening. We had 105 ladies attend. I’m sure your Mom & Danelle will fill you in.

    God Bless, Jo-Ann & Don


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