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Lesson Transcript

Tiina: Hi everyone, I'm Tiina. Welcome back to FinnishPod101.com's All About series! This is lesson 9: The Top 5 Most Important Dates During the Finnish Calendar Year.
Reeta: Hei, minä olen Reeta. Hi everyone, I'm Reeta.
Tiina: So Reeta, as you know, Finland has a lot of interesting celebrations throughout the year. In this lesson, we are going to learn about 5 holidays that are near and dear to the hearts of Finnish people. We’re going to go in reverse order, though, which means we’ll start with number 5.
Reeta: Coming in at number 5 is December 6th, which is Finnish Independence Day. This is called itsenäisyyspäivä in Finnish.
Tiina: On this day in 1917, Finland declared its independence from the Russian Empire. So, how is this day celebrated nowadays?
Reeta: Well, there are Finnish flags all over the city, people light up two white and blue candles in the windows, and it's a national holiday.
Tiina: The president of Finland holds a “Presidential independence day reception” at the Presidential palace, and there are around 2,000 guests.
Reeta: Oh yeah, I remember watching the ball on TV. It's a big event. Tiina, what comes in at number 4?
Tiina: Number 4 is May Day, or Labour Day. In Finnish it is called Vappu.
Reeta: This is another big celebration, right?
Tiina: Yes. This is officially the 1st of May, but as Finns tend to celebrate the eve as well, the 30th of April is a big celebration too. The 1st of May is a national holiday.
Reeta: And why exactly is this celebrated?
Tiina: Well, Vappu was originally a celebration for the work force. Recently it has become a big celebration among students and new graduates. It is a carnival-type celebration, where people wear costumes and celebrate on the streets. Another thing about it is the wearing of the white hats Finns wear when they graduate from high school. Vappu is also a celebration of the Spring time and usually signals the start of a picnic season.
Reeta: Yeah, it's a lot of fun.
Tiina: Finns love all kinds of outdoor activities, and going for picnics is just one of these. But anyway, what’s number 3 on our list?
Reeta: It is Midsummer. This is the celebration that happens on the year’s longest day. In Finnish it is called juhannus.
Tiina: Ah yes, juhannus is a celebration of the summer solstice. It is also a celebration of light and summer.
Reeta: Yes and midsummer sauna, bonfires,and the midsummer ball are all part of this celebration.
Tiina: That’s absolutely true. Many people go to their summer cottages and celebrate juhannus in the countryside. It is also when people barbecue outside and keep on celebrating into the night.
Reeta: It seems like a nice celebration.
Tiina: Yeah – cities usually get really empty during that time!
Reeta: Wow, so you'd better head to the country side. And when is this usually celebrated?
Tiina: It switches dates because it’s based on the lunar calendar, but it’s usually sometime between June 19 and June 25. So keep an eye out for it if you're in Finland at that time of year! Now, what’s number 2 on our list?
Reeta: It is a Christian celebration. It is called pääsiäinen in Finnish.
Tiina: It's Easter, right?
Reeta: Yes it is! There are many different Easter celebration days, and a few national holidays as well.
Tiina: Yes, that’s right – in Finland, Easter is celebrated with decorating eggs and eating chocolate eggs, egg hunting, and eating lamb.
Reeta: So, what is Easter about?
Tiina: Well, to make a long story short, it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In some Christian countries, like Italy, it is a lot more widely celebrated than in Finland.
Reeta: It's definitely a big celebration, especially in Catholic countries.
Tiina: Yeah – during this holiday season, it is also the start of new season, spring, and green and yellow decorations are used.
Reeta: It's a big event for sure. Now for the last but not the least of Finnish celebrations.
Tiina: Here we go! In Finnish, it is joulu.
Reeta: In English, this is Christmas.
Tiina: Yes, and this is a big celebration in the Christian world. In Finland it brings lot of happiness for this cold and dark season.
Reeta: So it's celebrated from the 24th until the 26th of December.
Tiina: Yes, and Finns start to get ready for Christmas at the beginning of December. They buy presents and prepare loads of food and sweets.
Reeta: Children often write a letter to Santa Claus. Oh, by the way, did you know that Santa Claus is Finnish? He lives in place called Korvatunturi in the Finnish Lapland.
Tiina: That’s right – I did know it!
Reeta: In Finland Santa Claus does not come from the chimney, but from the door. Usually he visits the house of every child.
Tiina: That means that he is very busy.
Reeta: Yes, but often he gets a lot of helpers, like neighbors and the grandfathers of children. Usually children are so excited they don’t notice if Santa Claus looks like somebody they know.
Tiina: So it means that they wear a Santa Claus costume?
Reeta: Right. It’s fun !! (laughing)
Tiina: Wow, I like that!! Well, now we’ve covered the 5 most important holidays in Finland.
Reeta: We hope you have the chance to visit Finland during one of these holidays so that you can experience it for yourself!
Tiina: Join us next time for more about Finland and Finnish at FinnishPod101.com! See you then!
Reeta: Hei hei!