Finland celebrates 100 years of independence around the whole country!

It has almost become a spontaneous event to celebrate Finland’s 100 years of independence. The government has made excellent efforts to encourage ordinary people to arrange events in every village, township, and city throughout the whole country.

After 100 years on our own Finns appreciate the country’s strong emphasis on education, on a strong work ethic, with a solid belief in shared values where common sense almost always prevails; and we have good basic services and a well-oiled infrastructure of which we are justifiably proud.

The country enjoys a high standard of living in a clean environment.

The only complaint are that the weather is rather harsh, and daylight is in scarce supply for 6 months of the year.

On the political front things could be better, but compared to the UK and the USA we have never had it so good!

This year will see hundreds of “Finnish your Dinner” events between 24th and 27th August 2017, where tables will be arranged on the streets in most villages, towns and cities and where residents are invited to bring their own food and drinks to be shared with their friends, guests or just plain ordinary strangers. This is a great idea that has really taken off.

Many third sector organisations are arranging events too around the country the most interesting are the “Martta” Federation, whose members are ordinary women and men at home, who are interested in domestic matters like cooking, handcraft, childcare, gardening, etc. They are now organising special events for wild mushroom collectors. Our forests and fields are brimming with wild mushrooms that need to be picked and consumed – delicious. Your correspondent has just enjoyed a Chanterelle salad this evening and is looking forward to a Cep omelette at the weekend.

The other interesting group of volunteers is called the Finders. They go out and look for missing persons with the police and Red Cross. Many Finns end up getting lost in our forests when collecting berries and mushrooms! This group are experienced volunteers who have sister associations in Norway and Sweden. We also have an ageing population so there are also lots of older folk who suffer from dementia and stray off into our deep forests… They also need to be found quickly and police resources are far too thin to have efficient search parties.

And then there is the “Bear Festival” in Ilomantsi, on the same dates in August when some 29 woodsmen will use their axes and chain saws to carve bears from huge lumps of wood. There will also be a food festival with lots of wild ingredients from the rivers and forest.

It looks like that there will be a lot of fun everywhere including Helsinki.

Thos of you who want more detailed information should Google the Finland 100 Year Celebrations website on this link.

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