Flag days in Finland

Flag days, holidays, and other significant dates in Finland

The Finnish calendar designates official flag days and national flag days. Additionally, the flag may be hoisted on other days. Flying the flag to express joy and emphasize a day of celebration is a wonderful and dignified way to do so. It is also an excellent method of conveying sorrow or demonstrating respect. The flag can be flown for any reason, regardless of its size.

In Finland, all official holidays are established by acts of Parliament. They can be classified as either Christian or non-Christian holidays.

Additionally, we will provide a list of additional days in the calendar on which the flag may not be raised or on which these days are not recognized as official holidays. 

The months’ titles are provided in both English and Finnish, and it is evident that the Finnish names are significantly different. The names of months in English may perplex Finns who are not proficient in the language. We will also provide you with an explanation of these names.

January – Tammikuu

In modern Finnish, the term “tammi” indicates “oak.” Nevertheless, the origin of the month’s name remains uncertain. The name “tammikuu” has been the subject of numerous theories. All origin explanations are theorized after the Finnish written language was founded, and this word was developed before its introduction. In certain Finnish dialects, “tammi” refers to the center of a wheel, the middle beam of a mill, or other words meaning “center.” This origin would be logical given that Tammikuu is in the heart of winter.

01.01: New Year’s Day (Uudenvuodenpäivä) – a public holiday

When the calendar year starts, the New Year begins, and the calendar’s year count is increased by one. Many cultures celebrate the event in their own manner.

06.01: Epiphany (Loppiainen) – a public holiday

This is a Christian holiday that concludes the Christmas season. It is also known as the festival of the manifestation of God and is likely an older Christian festival than Christmas. The significance of the celebration differs among various denominations.

February – Helmikuu

In numerous closely related languages, the term “helmi” has a comparable equivalent. How it initially entered these languages remains unknown. Helmi means “pearl,” which refers to how the snow will sparkle in winter when the sun finally comes out after the darkness of early winter.

03.02: Day of Finnish Architecture and Design (Arkkitehtuurin ja muotoilun päivä) – a customary flag day

In 2022, a flag was raised for the first time in honor of the day of Alvar and Aino Aalto and Finnish architecture and design. The birthday of Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) has been commemorated as “Architecture Day” since 2012, although the name has since been changed to “Architecture and Design Day.” Alvar Aalto is one of the most famous names in Finland and abroad. During his life, Aalto designed several sites, from individual residential buildings to residential complexes and station and general plans. He designed several hundreds of buildings in Finland and other parts of the world. He worked closely with his wife, Aino, a Finnish architect, designer, and CEO of Artek.

05.02: Birthday of the national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg (Runebergin päivä) – a customary flag day

Since 1950, Runeberg Day has been commemorated on the calendar. It is one of the earliest national holidays in Finland. The fact that Runeberg was commemorated on his birthday while he was still alive is also indicative of his respect. Today, the consumption of Runeberg pastries is one of the most significant and essential components of Runeberg Day. These delicacies are available for purchase for an extended period of time, even after the holiday season, and are typically displayed on store shelves at the start of the year. During his lifetime, Runeberg was known to have a sweet appetite and would consume sugar cake and schnapps for breakfast. By the narrative, the pastry’s fame would be attributed to Fredrika Runeberg, Runeberg’s wife. However, it is more probable that Astanius, the sugar confectioner from Porvoo who delivered the poet’s pastries each morning, was responsible for the pastry. Nevertheless, Runeberg tart-style pastries were already produced in the 18th century, so it is conceivable that the tart was the first ingredient, followed by the moniker.

04.02: Candlemas Day (Kynttilänpäivä) – could be marked in the calendar but has no other importance

Candlemas Day is a Christian holiday celebrated 40 days after Christmas, on February 2, to commemorate that Jesus was taken to the temple at 40, and Simeon blessed him.

28.02: Kalevala Day, celebrated as the Day of Finnish Culture (Kalevalan päivä) – official flag day

Kalevala is a 19th-century epic poem by Elias Lönnrot based on Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology. It is regarded as the national epic of Finland and Karelia and is one of the most significant works of Finnic literature. Kalevala has inspired the artworks of many famous artists, including the music of Finnish classical composer Jean Sibelius and the illustrations of Finnish painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela. The author of Kalevala, Elias Lönnrot (9 April 1802 – 19 March 1884), was a Finnish physician, philologist, and collector of traditional Finnic oral folklore. The material was gathered from Finnic oral tradition from the distant past, including short ballads, lyric poems, and mythology, during his expeditions in Finland, Karelia, the Kola Peninsula, and the Baltic countries.

Celebrated between 03.02 and 09.03: Shrovetide Sunday (Laskiaissunnuntai) – could be marked in the calendar but has no other importance

This is a pre-Easter celebration that incorporates both pagan and Christian traditions. The celebrations in Finland are likely to have originated from the old work festival, during which women discontinued the process of processing and spinning linen, flax, and wool into yarn. The festive continues to preserve fun traditions, including ice sledding and downhill skiing. The darkest winter is bid farewell, and we begin to anticipate the arrival of spring. Some of the traditional delicacies of Laskiainen include Laskiaispulla and pea soup. You can find them in our article about Finnish cuisine.

March – Maaliskuu

It’s likely that “maalis” is related to “maa” (probably through the adjective “maallinen”). “Maa” means “ground,” “country,” or “Earth.” It’s probably named this way because, in March, the snow starts to melt in places, revealing the ground underneath.

19.03: Birthday of novelist and playwright Minna Canth and Day of Equality (Minna Canthin päivä, tasa-arvon päivä) – a customary flag day

Minna Canth was a Finnish writer, journalist, businesswoman, and social influencer. As a writer, Canth was one of the pioneers of Finnish realism. She promoted the status of women, among other things, by working to improve girls’ educational opportunities. She was also a pioneer in Finnish-language education. In 2003, the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered government agencies and institutions to fly the flag for Minna Canthi’s birthday and equality. 

25.03: Mary’s Day (Marian ilmestyspäivä) – could be marked in the calendar but has no other importance

Annunciation Day, or Mary’s Day, is a Christian holiday that celebrates the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce the future birth of Christ. The incident is told in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke. In Catholic and Orthodox churches and several Protestant denominations, the feast day is celebrated on March 25, nine months before Christmas.

April – Huhtikuu

Huhta may refer to “woods that have been cleared.” Firing entire forests in April was common, as the resulting ash naturally fertilized the soil. This was particularly effective in April, as the forest was not yet excessively dry, which made it simpler to manage the fire’s trajectory.

One week before Easter Sunday, Palm Sunday (Palmusunnuntai) – could be marked in the calendar but has no other importance

Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels. Its name originates from the palm branches waved by the crowd to greet and honor Jesus Christ as he entered the city.

Movable Friday before Easter: Good Friday (Pitkäperjantai) – a public holiday

The Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday. This is the Christian day celebrated to commemorate the crucifixion and death of Christ. It is the only mourning celebration of the church year.

Movable Sunday, celebrated in late March, but usually in April or early May: Easter Sunday (Pääsiäispäivä) – a public holiday

Easter is an annual Christian holiday celebrated in honor of Jesus’s resurrection. According to the basic rule inherited from the early Christian era, Easter Sunday is the Sunday after the full moon following the Vernal Equinox. In practice, however, long-established calculation rules determine the time, which is why Easter is not at the same time every year in all countries and all denominations. Protestants, Catholics, and the Finnish Orthodox Church celebrate Easter according to the Gregorian calendar.

Movable Monday after Easter Sunday: Easter Monday (2. pääsiäispäivä) – a public holiday

On this day, Christians remember that, according to the Bible, the resurrected Jesus appeared to the disciples and the women who followed him.

09.04: Day of the Finnish language (Suomen kielen päivä) – a customary flag day

The day is celebrated on the day of Mikael Agricola’s death, although it is customary to mark the individual’s birthday in his memory. This is because the precise date of Agricola’s birth is unclear. Mikael Agricola, the bishop of Turku, was a religious reformer who established the foundation of the Finnish literary language through his Bible translation and the composition and translation of the first printed books in Finnish. This is why he is regarded as the progenitor of Finnish-language literature and the Finnish literary language.

27.04: National Veterans’ Day (Kansallinen veteraanipäivä) – a customary flag day

On April 27, 1945, Finnish soldiers raised the military flag at the three-country cairn between Norway, Sweden, and Finland, ending the Lapland War and the Second World War in Finland. National Veterans Day is a remembrance day for all Finnish war veterans. It is not celebrated as a victory celebration but has a more peaceful character than Memorial Day in May.

May – Toukokuu

The term “touko” has a comparable equivalent in a diverse array of Finnish-Uralic languages. In each of these languages, the term signifies “spring.” The manner in which it was introduced to the Finnish-Uralic languages remains ambiguous. Some believe it is a loanword from proto-Aryan, while others believe it is an original word.

01.05: May Day (Vappu) – a public holiday and official flag day

09.05: Europe Day (Eurooppa-päivä) – a customary flag day

Second Sunday in May: Mother’s Day (Äitienpäivä) – official flag day

Movable Thursday between XX and XX: Ascension Day (Helatorstai) – public holiday

12.05: Day of Finnish Identity (Suomalaisuuden päivä) – a customary flag day

Birthday of the statesman Johan Vilhelm Snellman.

Moveable Sunday between XX and XX: Pentecost Sunday (Helluntaipäivä) – a public holiday

Third Sunday in May: Remembrance Day (Kaatuneitten muistopäivä) – a customary flag day

It is a memorial day for everyone who has died in Finnish wars, combat-like duties, or peacekeeping operations both during the fighting and after they’ve ceased, including those executed or who have died as Prisoners of War.

June – Kesäkuu

In modern Finnish, the term “kesä” indicates “summer.” Nevertheless, in many Southwestern Finnish dialects, the term “summer” was referred to as “suvi” rather than “kesä”. The decision to employ the term “kesä” as the official term for “summer” was made by Agricola and other Finns who “invented” the Finnish written language. The term “kesä” in the Southwestern dialects was used to refer to “ley farming” rather than “summer.” In other regions of Finland, “ley farming” was referred to as kesanto. Ley farming is the practice of leaving specific territories unoccupied for a year or more to allow the soil to regenerate. These fields that had been left unoccupied for an extended period were reactivated in June.

04.06: Flag Day of the Finnish Defence Forces (Puolustusvoimain lippujuhlan päivä) – official flag day

Friday between 19 and 25 June: Midsummer Eve (Juhannusaatto) – public holiday

Saturday between 20 and 26 June: Midsummer Day (Juhannuspäivä) – public holiday and official flag day

The occasion is also celebrated as the Day of the Finnish Flag. The flag is hoisted on Midsummer’s Eve at 6 PM and flown through the night until 9 PM the next day.

July – Heinäkuu

His name comes from the noun “heinä,” which means “hay.” In Finland, hay is harvested and stored for cattle to consume in the winter. “Heinä is considered an old Baltic loanword and has a similar equivalent in many closely related languages.

06.07: Birthday of the poet Eino Leino (Leinon päivä) – a customary flag day

August – Elokuu

The term “elo” can be translated as “crop.” Finland’s harvest month is Elokuu. “Elonkorjuu” is the term used to describe the process of harvesting. The verb elää, which means “to live,” is the source of the word “elo.” As a result, it can also be translated as “life.”

Last Saturday of August: Day of Finnish nature (Suomen luonnon päivä) – a customary flag day

Finland’s Nature Day is a celebration of nature on the last Saturday of August. The day aims to gather Finns to celebrate and appreciate Finland’s nature. Finland’s Nature Day has been celebrated since 2013. Blueberries and blueberry pie related to Finnish Nature Day.

September – Syyskuu

“Syys” and “syksy” are both terms that denote the autumn season. September is the inaugural month of the autumn season. “Syys” is most frequently encountered in compound words, including “syyssade,” which means “autumn rain,” “syysloma,” which means “autumn vacation,” and “syyshalla,” which means “autumn frost.” The term “syksy” should be employed when discussing autumn.

October – Lokakuu

Loka is a term that translates to “mud.” October is an unappealing month, as it can be precipitated by rain and snow, resulting in boggy conditions. The word loka’s origin is uncertain; however, it may have originated from an ancient Finnish word.

10.10: Birthday of the National writer Aleksis Kivi (Aleksis Kiven päivä) – a customary flag day

24.10: United Nations Day (Yhdistyneiden Kansakuntien päivä) – a customary flag day

Saturday between 31.10 and 06.11: All Saints’ Day (Pyhäinpäivä) – public holiday

November – Marraskuu

The term “marras” is not frequently employed in contemporary Finnish, but it is defined as “dead” or “dying.” November is a month in which we observe the death of nature. Due to the somber and gloomy nature of November, another hypothesis regarding the origin of the month’s name has been proposed. Marraskuu may have originally denoted the period of darkness during which the spirits of the deceased (martaat) are in motion.

06.11: Finnish Swedish Heritage Day (Ruotsalaisuuden päivä) – a customary flag day

Celebrated on the Gustavus Adolphus Day, the death day of King Gustavus Adolphus.

Second Sunday in November: Father’s Day (Isänpäivä) – official flag day

20.11: Day of Children’s Rights

December – Joulukuu

The term “joulukuu” can be translated as “Christmas month.” The month’s name is derived from the Finnish word “joulu.” A Pagan midwinter festivity was the original meaning of the term “joulu.” The term’s connotation underwent a transformation during the 16th century when Christianity established itself in Finland. It is feasible that December was simply referred to as “talvikuu” in ancient Finnish. The appellation “joulukuu” would be more youthful. The term “joulu” was likely derived from the Swedish word “jul” and was adopted by the Finnish people from Scandinavian or Germanic languages.

06.12: Independence Day (Itsenäisyyspäivä) – official flag day and public holiday

08.12: Birthday of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (Jean Sibeliuksen päivä) – a customary flag day

24.12: Christmas Eve (Jouluaatto) – public holiday

25.12: Christmas Day (Joulupäivä) – public holiday

26.12: Second Day of Christmas (2. joulupäivä, tapaninpäivä) – public holiday

Movable flag days

Days when Finland holds parliamentary, presidential, and local elections, elections to the European Parliament or a referendum are official flag days.

The day the President of Finland is inaugurated is official flag day, usually the 1st of February or the 1st of March every 6 years.