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Planning to visit Finland in 2019? Get the most out of your experience! Learn here about the most important holidays in Finland - fast and easy with FinnishPod101!

2019 Holidays in Finland

January 6, 2019 Epiphany
February 5, 2019 Day of J.L.Runeberg
February 28, 2019 Finnish Culture Day
March 8, 2019 International Women’s Day
March 19, 2019 Day of Minna Canth
March 3, 2019 Shrove Sunday
March 5, 2019 Shrove Tuesday
April 9, 2019 Day of Mikael Agricola
April 14, 2019 Palm Sunday
April 19, 2019 Good Friday
April 22, 2019 Easter Monday
April 30, 2019 May Day Eve
May 1, 2019 May Day
May 19, 2019 Commemoration Day of Fallen Soldiers
May 30, 2019 Ascension Day
June 4, 2019 Finnish Defence Forces Flag Day
June 9, 2019 Pentecost
June 22, 2019 Midsummer
October 10, 2019 Day of Aleksis Kivi
November 2, 2019 All Saint’s Day
November 10, 2019 Father’s Day
December 6, 2019 Independence Day
December 8, 2019 Day of Jean Sibelius
December 13, 2019 St. Lucy’s Day
December 26, 2019 St. Stephen’s Day

Must-Know Finnish Holidays and Events in 2019

How well do you know holidays in Finland?

In this article, you learn all about the top Finland holidays and the traditions and history behind them. Check the must-know Finnish vocabulary for popular holidays in Finland too!

That way, you can easily talk about Finnish holidays while improving your vocabulary and overall speaking skills. You will pick up key vocab, phrases, and cultural insights you won’t find in a textbook.

Perfect for any student interested in learning more about Finnish culture. We will teach you the what, why, when and how of Finland holidays.

Finnish Holiday List

January 6, 2019: Epiphany

Epiphany is a Christian holiday that marks the end of the Christmas holidays, and is celebrated on January 6. It was established in the third century AD, when it was originally celebrated to mark the birth of baby Jesus. In the early Middle Ages however, The Three Magi (itämaan tietäjät) who came to pay tribute to the newborn Jesus became the subject of the celebration.
On Epiphany, the Christmas tree (joulukuusi) is taken out of the house according to tradition and Christmas decorations are put away. On this day, many will eat Christmas dishes one final time, and provided that a gingerbread house (piparkakkutalo) was built for Christmas, it may be broken down and eaten as a part of Epiphany celebrations.

February 5, 2019: Day of J.L.Runeberg

Johan Ludvig Runeberg was the Finnish national poet, or kansallisrunoilija in Finnish. Runeberg rose to the status of Finland’s national poet during his lifetime, due to his work being very patriotic (isänmaallinen). Runeberg’s Day is a well-established flag day. Literary-themed events are held this day at places such as bookstores and cafes. A well-known way to celebrate the day is to eat Runeberg tarts, or Runebergintorttuja, which are sweet pastries said to have been Runeberg’s favorite treat.

February 28, 2019: Finnish Culture Day

Also called Kalevala Day, this holiday is celebrated on February 28 each year, and is an official flag holiday for Finland. In 1835, this is the day on which the publication titled Kalevala was published, and this work was one of the most important and influential in Finnish literary history. This broad collection of traditional-style poems served as a great preservation of Finnish Culture.

March 8, 2019: International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day, women around the world are celebrated and shown appreciation. This is often done through gift-giving, where men offer women things like candy, flowers, cards, and so on. Further, each year has a different International Women’s Day theme.

March 19, 2019: Day of Minna Canth

Minna Canth, a famous Finnish writer, is celebrated on this day (also called Equality Day due to her avid fight for women’s rights). Celebrated on March 19, her birthday, this official flag day was created to celebrate her writing as well as her views on women’s rights; Day of Minna Canth became an official holiday in 2007.

March 3, 2019: Shrove Sunday

Shrovetide is a fun celebration held in Finland seven weeks before Easter. Shrovetide includes Shrove Sunday (laskiaissunnuntai) and Shrove Tuesday (laskiaistiistai), although between the two, Shrove Tuesday is the more significant.

March 5, 2019: Shrove Tuesday

Shrovetide is a fun celebration held in Finland seven weeks before Easter. Shrovetide includes Shrove Sunday (laskiaissunnuntai) and Shrove Tuesday (laskiaistiistai), although between the two, Shrove Tuesday is the more significant.
Shrovetide was originally celebrated to express people’s joy for the end of winter and the approach of Easter. A fast (paasto) was started on Shrove Tuesday, thus inspiring people to celebrate and hold a feast before it began. Fasting, however, is no longer a very common ritual.

April 9, 2019: Day of Mikael Agricola

April 9 marks Day of Mikael Agricola in Finland. Mikael Agricola, born in 1510, was a man known for his influence in Finland’s religious matters, including his work in translating the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament into Finnish. Further, he’s greatly appreciated for his efforts in crafting a written language for Finnish, publishing the first Finnish book, and helping to create peace between Sweden and Russia. Hence, this day is also an opportunity to celebrate the written Finnish language.

April 14, 2019: Palm Sunday

Easter week, also known as Silent Week, begins with Palm Sunday, or palmusunnuntai.
On Palm Sunday in Finland, children dress up as Easter witches (pääsiäisnoita) and go around the neighborhood with colorful willow branches they decorate themselves to carry out the so-called virpominen. This is an act, where, while waving brightly colored willow branches and reciting a rhyme, the Easter witches wish happiness and good health to the receiver. As a reward, the little witches usually receive chocolate eggs (suklaamunia).

April 19, 2019: Good Friday

Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus (Jeesus), but many Easter traditions held by Finns were originally pagan (pakanallinen) in origin, and are closely tied to the longer, brighter days of spring.
The Easter holidays consist of Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday.

April 22, 2019: Easter Monday

Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus (Jeesus), but many Easter traditions held by Finns were originally pagan (pakanallinen) in origin, and are closely tied to the longer, brighter days of spring.
The Easter holidays consist of Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday.

April 30, 2019: May Day Eve

In Finland, May Day (vappu) is a holiday held in celebration of the working class and students, but at the same time it’s also a national holiday and a celebration of spring. Since the 1920s, Finnish students have traditionally begun their May Day celebrations on the night of April 30, known as May Day Eve (vappuaatto), despite the fact that May Day is actually recognized on May 1.
The most famous event of May Day Eve is the decoration of the Havis Amanda statue in Helsinki with a Finnish graduation cap, precisely at six o’clock in the evening on April 30. From this moment, May Day is considered to have officially started.

May 1, 2019: May Day

In Finland, May Day (vappu) is a holiday held in celebration of the working class and students, but at the same time it’s also a national holiday and a celebration of spring.
On May Day, those who have graduated from high school wear a white hat, or valkolakki, and those who are also admitted to the University of Technology will wear a technology student cap, which is also white, but with a pom pom.
The May Day program includes a traditional May Day picnic (vappupiknik).

May 19, 2019: Commemoration Day of Fallen Soldiers

Defence Forces Day has been celebrated during June since 1942. Before that, a similar celebration was held in May, from 1919 to 1939, known as Soldiers’ Day, or Sotaväen lippujuhlan päivä. The earlier celebration commemorated the day of the white troops winning over the red troops at the end of the Finnish Civil War (Suomen sisällissota) in 1918. After the Winter War, called talvisota, the name and the date were changed to honor the memory of the fallen and to emphasize national unity.

May 30, 2019: Ascension Day

This Christian holiday is held in remembrance and honor of Jesus Christ’s ascension into Heaven. This is recognized as a public holiday in Finland, and it’s often celebrated with a feast as well as music and hymns.

June 4, 2019: Finnish Defence Forces Flag Day

Defence Forces Day, held on June 4, is an annual celebration of Finland’s Defence Forces, and is an official flag day. On Defence Forces Day, the President of Finland gives promotions and badges of honor to soldiers within the Armed Forces. The most spectacular part of the day is a festive military parade (sotilasparaati), the location of which varies each year.

June 9, 2019: Pentecost

This Christian holiday, also called Whit Sunday or Helluntai, is largely centered on baptism. It’s believed that on the day of Pentecost, the Apostles were given the Holy Spirit and baptized many people. It’s often celebrated with church services, baptisms, and a feast.

June 22, 2019: Midsummer

Midsummer was originally celebrated as part of an ancient Finnish religion. It’s celebrated at the brightest time of the year, during which even the night is as bright as the day in Finland and you can see what’s called the midnight sun (yötön yö). The bright summer nights are, in fact, known as the nightless nights, because the sun never technically sets.
One important part of Midsummer traditions is the Midsummer sauna, or juhannussauna, with fresh sauna bath whisks made of birch twigs, and taking a dip in the lake. People’s homes, saunas, and rowboats may also be decorated with birch branches and natural flowers, and a maypole (juhannussalko) may be erected in Swedish-speaking areas.

October 10, 2019: Day of Aleksis Kivi

The Day of Aleksis Kivi, taking place on October 10, is celebrated in remembrance of Aleksis Kivi who was one of the very first great writers of the Finnish language. He may be best known for his first novel (and the first-ever Finnish novel), “Seven Brothers” (Seitsemän veljestä). He died in 1872 due to alcoholism and a variety of health issues.

November 2, 2019: All Saint’s Day

All Saints’ Day (pyhäinpäivä) is a memorial day for Christian saints, martyrs, and the departed, which has its roots in the Middle Ages. Originally, All Saints’ Day was celebrated on November 1, but in Finland it’s now always celebrated on a Saturday that occurs no sooner than October 31 and no later than November 6. In the olden days, Finns would traditionally celebrate the change of the year in the fall, after the crops were harvested and the season’s work had come to a close. This was known as the kekri celebration.
On All Saints’ Day, candles (kynttilät) are lit in churches to commemorate the parishioners who have passed away during the year. Many Finnish people will also light candles and bring winter flowers, such as heather (kanerva) to the graves of their deceased relatives.

November 10, 2019: Father’s Day

In Finland and other Nordic countries, unlike the rest of the world, Father’s Day is celebrated in late autumn, on the first Sunday of November.
Father’s Day is celebrated in a similar way as Mother’s Day is, although not as festively. Fathers’ roles as children’s educators (kasvattaja) is more and more significant nowadays, allowing the importance of Father’s Day to grow as the years go by.
On Father’s Day, Dad and the kids will spend time bonding, for example, by playing together or visiting amusement parks, zoos, exhibitions, or movies.

December 6, 2019: Independence Day

Finland gained its independence on December 6, 1917, the day that’s currently recognized as Finland’s “Independence Day” or Itsenäisyyspäivä. As a sovereign country, Finland was preceded by the Grand Duchy of Finland, an autonomous part of the Russian Empire.
On the morning of Independence Day, the Finnish flag (Suomen lippu) is solemnly hoisted both at homes and at public locations. A general church service is held at the Helsinki Cathedral, and is attended by the President of the Republic of Finland, the Government, and the members of the parliament.
In homes, Independence Day is celebrated peacefully, but solemnly. Two blue-and-white candles are lit in windows to celebrate independence, while families eat festive food and watch the Independence Day celebrations on TV.

December 8, 2019: Day of Jean Sibelius

December 8 is the Day of Jean Sibelius, also called “Day of Finnish Music,” due to this man’s great legacy in this branch of Finnish culture through his magnificent compositions. This was officially recognized as a flag day in 2011.

December 13, 2019: St. Lucy’s Day

Held during the darkest time of the year in Finland, St. Lucy’s Day brings light to the middle of winter. The most important part of St. Lucy’s Day is the selection of the official Lucia maiden (Lucia-neito). The favorite girl, as voted by the public, will then be crowned as the Finnish Lucia maiden on the steps of Helsinki Cathedral, or Helsingin Tuomiokirkko, on December 13.
After the coronation, the Lucia maiden performs on the steps of the cathedral with a cadre of Christmas elves (joulutontut) and tours around the center of Helsinki with her procession. Later, she visits hospitals, nursing homes, children’s homes, and prisons to sing and to serve Lucia buns (Lucia-pulla).

December 26, 2019: St. Stephen’s Day

Celebrated on December 26 in Finland, St. Stephen’s Day is a publicly celebrated Christian holiday commemorating the death of St. Stephen, who was the first Christian martyr. In Finland, people oftentimes celebrate with “the ride of the St. Stephen’s Day,” which consists of riding on a sleigh through the streets. Other common activities include singing, dancing, and weddings.

Why You Need to Know Finnish Holidays

You may ask why it is advantageous to know Finnish holidays. There are a number of good reasons!

  • National holidays are most often celebrated to commemorate a specific cultural/historical event or ideology, and Finland is no different. Want an easy introduction into what is important to a society? Learn about their national holidays and why these are observed! Often, the locals observe special customs and rituals on these days. This could include anything from a private ritual at home, a religious service, or a colorful parade in the streets. Not always, but often travellers are allowed to observe, or even participate! How awesome and exciting! Therefore, booking your trip over a national holiday could well be a wonderfully rich, informative experience for the whole family.
  • The more you know about a person’s culture, the more you can show your respect towards him/her! This includes knowing when holidays are observed. This knowledge can be beneficial in ways you cannot foresee, because few things open doors such as true respect for another’s cultural ways. It shows you care about what’s important to them!
  • If you’re working in Finland, knowing exactly when holidays are observed is very important, for a very obvious reason! Unless you don’t mind arriving to closed doors at work in the morning, that is. Employers sometimes assume everyone knows it’s a holiday, so be sure to know the holiday dates of the country you work in, and get your well-deserved break too.
  • Having Finnish friends on holiday when you visit him/her is probably an excellent reason to book your visit with care. That way you can connect meaningfully and enjoy holiday experiences with a native friend when they don’t have to work.

How To Learn Finnish With Holidays

If you’re keen to learn Finnish on your own, there are a number of ways to do this. Why not choose holidays as a theme? You can start by learning about the Finnish culture, so find a video or TV program about holidays in Finland. Better still - find a video or program about holidays in Finnish, and watch it a few times! That way your ear will get used to the spoken language. You could also watch Finnish movies without subtitles, as this too will train your ear to what correct Finnish sounds like.

If you’re more advanced in Finnish, you can practice your writing skills by writing a letter to your Finnish friend about the holidays video. Or write a short review of the video, and post it on social media! Imagine how impressed your friends will be!

Practice your Finnish pronunciation, and record yourself talking about your holiday in Finland. Pronouncing words correctly in any language is very important, or you may find yourself saying things you don’t mean!

If you’re an absolute beginner, it would be best to start with a book, a CD series, free PDF cheat sheets and preferably your Finnish friend who can help you. Or, you can start with FinnishPod101, for free!

How FinnishPod101 Can Help You

Holidays in Finland can also be the perfect opportunity to practice your Finnish! For the best experience, make sure to master at least Level 1 of your Finnish lessons here on FinnishPod101 before you go on holiday to Finland. Then don’t be shy! Use it with every native speaker you encounter in every situation. Practicing continuously to speak a language is one of the most important habits if you want to become fluent. Or, if you’re a new subscriber to FinnishPod101 in a hurry to get to Finland, study Absolute Beginner Finnish for Every Day to help you get by as a traveller - you will be surprised how far a little Finnish can go!

FinnishPod101 is uniquely geared to help you master relevant, everyday vocabulary and phrases, pronounced correctly and in the right context - this will set you on the right track. Our courses are perfectly designed to help you in fun ways!

But do have a holiday first. Ideally you will enjoy a different culture with a visit, and enrich your life in ways you cannot imagine. Don’t wait till 2020 to learn Finnish through FinnishPod101 though - it will open a whole new world for you!

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