Frequently Asked Questions

Publication of calendars and name days

Calendars can be freely published in Finland; publication does not require special permission. The University of Helsinki used to have exclusive right to publish calendars, but the right expired at the end of 1994.

However, the University of Helsinki holds the copyright to the name day lists of Finnish- and Swedish-speakers and the name day lists of cats, dogs and horses. Permission is always required for the use of name days. The use of name days is subject to a copyright fee, which is based on the number of copies. Permit applications are addressed to the University Almanac Office.

You do not need permission to make a calendar without name days, and no fees will be charged by the Almanac Office for such a calendar. You can purchase reliable calendar information or a ready-made calendar template from us.

No, you cannot. The way in which you place the names in your calendar does not have a bearing on copyright. Using names in a calendar always requires permission and is subject to a copyright fee.

No, you cannot. The Almanac Office sells ready calendar templates and materials for calendar production, but the customer must choose the printing location. You are also responsible for obtaining any illustrations for the calendar.

The Almanac Office does not sell almanacs. You can enquire about old almanacs in antiquarian and second-hand book shops.

The Almanac Office does not sell the University Almanac (Yliopiston almanakka, Universitetsalmanackan). You can enquire about the product at book shops, supermarkets or the publisher of the University Almanac.

Adding names to the name day calendar

New names are added to the almanac primarily based on their prevalence. The exact figures used as criteria are determined separately in connection with each name day reform. However, the prevalence of a name is not the only criterion. The new name must also cohere with the existing set of names. Because of this, many foreign names, such as Alex, Fanny and Wilma, have been excluded from the calendar.

Decisions on the inclusion of new names are made by the rector of the University of Helsinki. The matter is prepared by the name specialists appointed by the University, one of whom is responsible for the names of Finnish-speakers and the other for the names of Swedish-speakers. They present the matter to the rector, who makes the final decision.

New names in the almanac are chosen based on their prevalence. What this means in practice is that citizens cannot influence the choice of names with their proposals or requests. However, you can contact the Almanac Office to learn about the prevalence of different names and get a forecast of the probability of a specific name being included in the almanac in the near future. You can also ask the name specialist to suggest the most appropriate day for celebrating an unofficial name day.

New names are added to the calendar every five years. The previous reforms took place in 2015 and 2020. The next changes will be made at the beginning of 2025. Decisions on the 2025 changes will be made in 2023.

Adding special days and flag days to the calendar

The Board of the University of Helsinki Almanac Office decides on any special days added to the Finnish calendar. However, new days are not added to the calendar very often: recent additions have been made every few years. Proposals can be submitted to the University Almanac Office.

For a new special day to be added to the calendar, it must have been widely and consistently celebrated in society for several years. Statements on the proposals are requested from various experts and used in decision-making.

The proposals benefit from being supported by a wide network of citizens. They can be informal, but the reasoning should be carefully considered. The proposal should indicate how widely and consistently the day is celebrated and which parties and organisations are involved in the celebrations.

Nothing prevents the day from being included in self-published calendars, even if it does not have official status as a special day.

Flag day proposals are primarily submitted to the Finnish Ministry of the Interior. The establishment of a new flag day typically involves a lengthy consideration. The Ministry carefully weighs the prerequisites for general flag flying, including whether the reason for flying the flag is accepted by an adequate number of citizens. Informal, well-justified proposals for new flag days can be submitted to the registry of the Ministry of the Interior.

Some flag days obtain customary status if the Ministry of the Interior recommends flag flying in several consecutive years. The Ministry can then make a proposal to the University Almanac Office for adding the day as a customary flag day to the State Calendar and the University Almanacs. The decision on whether the day is added to the calendar is made by the Board of the University Almanac Office.

However, flags can be flown quite freely in Finland. You can fly the national flag whenever you feel the need for it. In other words, you can also fly a flag on days that are not marked in the calendar, as long as you follow good flag flying practices.

Read more on the website of the Ministry of the Interior: Proposals for flag days and the processing of proposals by the Ministry

Questions about the calendar

There are different views on the origin of the word calendar. According to one theory, the word derives from the Latin word calare, meaning “to announce”. In ancient Rome, the month began when the crescent moon first appeared after sunset. The high priest announced the beginning of a new month. The dates of religious and public holidays for the month were also announced at this time.

There are many explanations for the word almanac. It probably derives from a word in the Arabic language. The root word may be al-manach, which today means “weather”. According to some sources, the original meaning was “the place where the camels land on their knees” – that is, an oasis. Caravans met each other at oases where they exchanged news, information about events in different places and weather information. At oases, fortune tellers also foretold the future for caravans. Over time, this is thought to have given the word the same meaning as the word calendar.

Calculation starts at the beginning of the year. If New Year’s Day is a day between Monday and Thursday, that week is assigned number 1. If not, the following week becomes week number 1, and the week containing New Year’s Day is numbered as part of the previous year, meaning that it is either week 52 or week 53. A good rule of thumb is that the first week of the year includes the first Thursday of the year. The following weeks are given the numbers 2, 3, and so on.

It comes from an international standard established in the early 1970s. According to it, Monday is the first day of the week. In Finland, this standard has been applied since 1973. In older calendars, Sundays were often considered the first day of the week.

According to the leap year rule in the Gregorian calendar, every fourth year is a leap year. However, years that are evenly divisible by 100 are leap years only if they are also evenly divisible by 400. Thus, 2000 was a leap year, but 2100 is not.