Monthly Archives: October 2013

Finnish Flag

One of the most beautiful sights in Finland is seeing their flag flying with the bright blue sky in its background.   The flag is not flown everyday like we do in the USA.  Finland has certain flag days.  I will list those days so you can see when and why it is flown.   Unfortunately, today I came outside and for the first time our neighborhood, consisting of 8 homes, had its flag flying.  The reason it is unfortunate is because it was at half mast.  When you see a flag at half mast in a neighborhood it is because someone has passed away.  I think this is such a special form of respect for their people.  I am glad to see that this neighborhood has a flag.  I almost thought we might buy one as a gift before we leave Finland.  Christian and I often joke about flying the USA flag on the 4th of July on their pole since we have never seen a flag flown on it even on the special flag days.  🙂  Not sure our “older” Finnish neighbors would appreciate since we barely ever get a hello out of them.

Like in the USA, Finland has similar rules with flying their flag.  When a death occurs flags are normally lowered to half mast as soon as the information about the death of the person concerned has been received. If the message is received late in the day, the ceremony can be postponed to the following day.

When flying the flag at half mast, the flag should first be raised to the top of the pole and then lowered so that the flag’s lower edge is in the middle of the pole. Before lowering the flag from the half-mast position, it should first be raised all the way to the top.

On the day of a funeral, the flag should first be flown at half mast, and after the funeral service and the burial, it should be raised to the top of the pole for the rest of the day. During the memorial service, the flag should be flown at full mast to salute the deceased and to honour his or her memory.


The Finnish flag is also called siniristilippu (“Blue Cross Flag”), dates from the beginning of the 20th century. On a white background, it features a blue Nordic cross, which represents Christianity.

By law, the Finnish flag must be flown from public buildings on the following days:

  • February 28, day of Kalevala; the occasion is also celebrated as the Day of Finnish culture
  • May 1, Vappu, the Day of Finnish Labour
  • Second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day
  • June 4, birthday of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland; the occasion is also celebrated as the Flag Day of the Finnish Defence Forces
  • Saturday between June 20 and 26 June, Midsummer Day; the occasion is also celebrated as the Day of the Finnish Flag. The flag is hoisted on Midsummer’s eve at 6 PM and flown through the night until 9 PM the next day.
  • December 6, Independence Day
  • Days when Finland holds parliamentary and local elections, elections to the European Parliament, or a referendum
  • The day the President of Finland is inaugurated

Days on which flying the Finnish flag is an established custom

It has become customary to fly the Finnish flag on the following occasions. The dates are also listed in the Finnish State Calendar compiled by the University of Helsinki, and it is recommended that the flag is flown on these occasions in the same way as on those prescribed by law.

  • February 5, birthday of the National poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg
  • March 19, birthday of Minna Canth, Day of Equality, beginning in 2007
  • April 9, the day Mikael Agricola, the founder of the written Finnish language died and Elias Lönnrot, a collector of folklore was born; the occasion is also celebrated as the Day of the Finnish language
  • April 27, National War Veterans’ Day
  • May 9, Europe Day
  • May 12, Day of the Finnish Identity, birthday of the statesman Johan Vilhelm Snellman 
  • Third Sunday in May, memorial day for the war dead of the Finnish Civil War and World War II 
  • July 6, birthday of the poet Eino Leino; the occasion is also a celebration of poetry and summer
  • October 10, birthday of the National writer Aleksis Kivi; the occasion is also celebrated as the Day of Finnish literature
  • October 24, Day of the United Nations
  • November 6, Day of the Swedish Identity
  • Second Sunday in November, Father’s Day
  • 8 December, birthday of the composer Jean Sibelius; the occasion is also celebrated as the Day of Finnish music
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