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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Finland Series at FinnishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Finnish holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 16, Defence Forces Day. In Finnish, it’s called Puolustusvoimain lippujuhlan päivä.
Defence Forces Day, held on June 4, is an annual celebration of Finland's Defence Forces, and is an official flag day. In this lesson, we will learn how Finnish people celebrate Defence Forces Day.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know by what name Defence Forces Day was known in the past?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
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, in Finnish 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.
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, in Finnish called sotilasparaati, the location of which varies each year. The parade is held in the capital, Helsinki, on every fifth and tenth anniversary of Finland's independence. The national parade, received by the commander-in-chief and the supreme commander of the defence forces, was held for the first time in 1952 in Helsinki.
In addition to infantry, a number of military vehicles and horses are seen in the parades, and the air force’s Hornet and Hawk fighter planes do a flyover, called ylilento in Finnish. Equipment demonstrations, battle demonstrations, and gun salutes are memorable parts of the occasion. Seeing the parade live is a thrilling experience, especially for families with children, but for those who cannot attend in person, the parade can also be followed on TV.
The parade on Defence Forces Day is further enlivened with a historic segment. In this segment, soldiers dress in historic military uniforms and march alongside historic, refurbished vehicles and bicycles, as well as horses.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know by what name Defence Forces Day was known in the past?
Defence Forces Day is celebrated on the birthday of Marshal Mannerheim, in Finnish pronounced Marsalkka Mannerheim, on June 4. Therefore, the day used to be known by the name “Marshal of Finland's Birthday”.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Have you ever seen a military parade?
Leave us a comment at FinnishPod101.com, and see you again in the next class!