New flag days to be added to the calendar in 2023

In 2023, two new flag days will be added to the Finnish calendar: Finnish Nature Day (the last Saturday in August) and Miina Sillanpää’s Day, Day of Civic Participation, on 1 October. Both are customary flag days in the calendar. After the reform, the Finnish calendar will have seven official flag days, specified in the decree on flag flying, and fifteen customary flag days.  

Finnish Nature Day (last Saturday in August)

The Finnish Nature Day was added to the calendar for the last Saturday in August in 2020. At the time, it was not given the flag symbol, as flag flying on the day had not yet become customary. The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, Metsähallitus, and the Association of Biology and Geography Teachers proposed that the day be added to the calendar as early as 2016. The Ministry of the Interior recommended national flag flying on the day for the first time in 2017, on the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence. The presidential couple raised the flag in Teijo National Park, and flags were also flown at state buildings. Since the Ministry of the Interior has issued a flag flying recommendation on this day in five different years, the University of Helsinki Almanac Office decided to add a flag symbol for the day as of the 2023 calendar year.

Finnish Nature Day has been celebrated since 2013 and hundreds of public events have been organised around it. Finns have also celebrated nature in August by berry picking, fishing and hiking in the forest, and the nature theme has had a prominent role in schools. Jenni Haukio, spouse of the President of the Republic, is the patron of the Finnish Nature Day.

Miina Sillanpää’s Day, Day of Civic Participation, 1 October

In 2023, the first day of October will be added to the calendar as Miina Sillanpää’s Day, the Day of Civic Participation. The Ministry of the Interior has been issuing flag flying recommendations for this day since 2016. The day commemorates the life work of Miina Sillanpää (4 June 1866–3 April 1952) and highlights the importance of civic participation in society. As Sillanpää’s birthday, 4 June, is the Defence Forces Flag Day in Finland, 1 October was chosen as the flag day for Sillanpää, which is when the Parliament Act and the Election Act entered into force in the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1906. Miina Sillanpää’s Day is also celebrated as the day of organisations in Finland.

Miina Sillanpää was a social influencer, politician and women’s rights advocate who rose from poverty to become the first female minister in the Finnish Parliament. She was elected Member of Parliament as one of the first 19 women in 1907, and served as an MP for the Social Democratic Party for 38 years. In the government of Väinö Tanner, Sillanpää was the second Minister of Social Affairs from 1926 to 1927. In addition, she was a key player in several women’s organisations and in the founding of mother and child home activities.

Further information:

University of Helsinki Almanac Office: Minna Saarelma-Paukkala, Director, tel. +358 2941 22947, minna.saarelma@helsinki.fi

Ministry of the Interior: Aino Tuovinen, Specialist, p. +358 295 488 317 / +358 50 456 1552,
firstname.lastname@intermin.fi

Finnish Nature Day: Päivi Rosqvist, Communications Manager, Metsähallitus, Nature Services, tel. +358 400 425 666, paivi.rosqvist@metsa.fi

Miina Sillanpää Day: Virpi Dufva, Chair, Miina Sillanpää Foundation, tel. +358 50 365 4664, virpi.dufva@valli.fi

Read more in the bulletin of the Ministry of the Interior (available in Finnish and Swedish) .

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