Candles and songs as Finland celebrates All Saints’ Day and Swedish Heritage Day | New


Two public holidays fall on Saturdays, but there are few significant changes to the schedules.

Many Finns visit cemeteries to light candles at the graves of their loved ones. Image: Marja Väänänen / Yle

Saturday is a double public holiday in Finland, with the dominant Evangelical Lutheran Church celebrating All Saints’ Day and Finnish Swedish Heritage Day honoring the country’s largest linguistic minority.

In Finland, All Saints’ Day, also known as All Saints’ Day, All Saints’ Day or Hallowmas, is a day to remember loved ones who have passed away, especially in the past year.

Many Finns visit cemeteries to light candles and place flowers or wreaths on family graves. The custom became more common in Finland after World War II.

The Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day is usually observed on November 1, but the Lutheran churches in Finland and Sweden have celebrated it on the nearest Saturday since the mid-1950s. The holiday can fall anywhere between October 31 and November 6, often the darkest time of year, before snow cover over most of the country.

While Finnish All Saints’ Day could be seen as a more solemn counterpart to Latin American Day of the Dead. Some here too still celebrate kekri, a celebration of the pre-Christian harvest which is closer to the Gaelic feast of Samhain. In recent decades, American Halloween celebrations have become more common and marketed in Finland.

With the holidays on a Saturday, there are few schedule changes. Most public transport operates on Sundays, with additional buses to cemeteries. Some utilities that might otherwise be open on Saturdays are closed, as are Alko stores.

Swedish holiday festivities broadcast from Åland

Flags also fly on Saturday to mark Finnish Swedish Heritage Day, celebrating the country’s main linguistic minority.

Yle broadcasts the main Svenska Dagen festivities from Mariehamn, capital of the Swedish-speaking province of land, from Saturday at 6 p.m.

The gala, which includes award ceremonies and music, is hosted by the Swedish Assembly of Finland (Svenska Finlands Folkting), an advisory parliament.

The article continues after the photo

Folk logo Image: Yle

“We have chosen to organize the celebration of Swedish Heritage Day in Mariehamn because Åland is celebrating 100 years of autonomy this year. It’s especially fun to be able to now organize a celebration with the audience present after a long break ”, spokesperson for Folkting. Stina Heikkilä said Yle.

According to Statistics Finland, at the end of last year 5.2% of the population spoke Swedish as their mother tongue. Fifty years ago it was around 6.6%. This share gradually declined over the last century or so, after Swedish rule over Finland ended in 1809 – even in officially monolingual islands.

Finland’s second minority language is Russian, spoken by around 1.5% of residents, followed by Estonian at 0.9% and Arabic at 0.6%.


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