Today’s Doodle celebrates Finland’s 101st Independence Day. On this day in 1917, the Finnish Parliament declared independence from the Russian Empire, marking a new beginning for this northern European nation.
Festivities commence at 9 AM in Helsinki, the nation’s capital, when the Speaker of Parliament addresses the nation while the blue and white Finnish flag is raised—blue for Finland’s abundance of lakes and white symbolizing the winter snow.
On Independence Day it’s traditional to light two blue and white candles on window sills at dusk. Many Finns also visit a cemetery to light a candle in memory of loved ones who have passed. As the day winds down, more than 2 million people tune in to watch the annual President’s Independence Day reception. Friends and family watch as 2,000 attendees, ranging from highest political leaders and diplomats to celebrities, war veterans and various civilian industry leaders, attend the annual gala in honor of this historic occasion.
This year’s Doodle depicts the Finnish sauna, complete with a wooden water bucket, ladle, & birch leaves. Potentially a factor of the cold climate, Finland has more than 2 million saunas in a nation of just 5.5 million inhabitants!
Happy Independence Day, Finland!