President Niinistö on Independence Day: When times are hard, there’s all the more reason to show gratitude and respect

A press conference regarding the Independence Day reception was held at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, 24 November 2022. Photo: Matti Porre/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland

A press conference regarding the Independence Day reception was held at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, 24 November 2022. Photo: Matti Porre/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland

Finland’s Independence Day will be celebrated with a reception hosted by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö and Mrs Jenni Haukio at the Presidential Palace on 6 December 2022. The theme of the reception is Finland as a nation that trusts in itself.

At a press conference held at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, 24 November regarding the Independence Day reception, President Niinistö reminded that Finland’s Independence Day will be celebrated this year under very different circumstances than in 2019, the last time the reception was held. The pandemic has posed challenges in many ways and it still persists. At the same time, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shocked the entire Western world.

“It might feel like there are very few reasons to celebrate, but Independence Day and the reception nevertheless present a good opportunity to show gratitude and respect. When times are hard, there is all the more reason to show gratitude and respect.”

This year, the guests at the reception will include people who have worked for the benefit of Finnish society through difficult times and have strengthened Finland through their actions. “We also wish to honour those who have selflessly helped their neighbours. At the same time, it is perhaps good to remind ourselves that the need for help is not over and, in the case of Ukraine for example, it has not gone away,” said the President.

The number of guests at the reception will be approximately one third smaller than in previous years. Around 1,300 people from different parts of Finland have been invited. Among the guests are healthcare professionals, people responsible for overall security, volunteers, and experts working on the success factors of the future.

A significant proportion of the guests have been invited for the first time, while this year there will be fewer guests traditionally invited in their official capacity. The guest list includes people originally invited to the 2021 Independence Day reception.

The presidential couple has invited the Independence Day guests of honour, war veterans and members of the Lotta Svärd, to their own reception at the Presidential Palace in the week before Independence Day.

Health security considerations

In addition to the smaller number of guests than usual, health security will be taken into account in other arrangements at the reception. Among other things, many hand disinfection points and air filters will be installed throughout the Presidential Palace. Face masks will also be available for those who wish to wear them.

Guests have been asked to be considerate of others and to stay away from the reception if they feel ill, have coronavirus symptoms or have recently been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Invitees are also asked to take a rapid coronavirus test before arriving at the reception.

Music cherishing traditions and the Finnish soulscape

On Independence Day, the music in the Hall of State will be provided by the Guards Band and the Guards Combo, with soloist Maria Lund. The music selections have been made cherishing traditions and emphasising Finnish music.

Jukka Perko Avara and friends will perform for guests in the third-floor salon. Their programme will honour the late actor and musician Vesa-Matti Loiri, selected instrumental versions of whose repertoire, adapted for Independence Day, will be performed.

The Total Cello Ensemble and the Guards Band will perform at the reception for the guests of honour, war veterans and members of the Lotta Svärd, on Thursday, 1 December.

Finnish produce and environmental friendliness emphasised again in catering and decorations

Finnish produce and environmental friendliness will again be emphasised in the catering and decorations of the President of the Republic of Finland’s 2022 Independence Day reception.

Finnish organic produce, fish and game will be served. Raspberries from Kultaranta, the President’s summer residence, as well as blueberries and other Finnish berries will be used in sweet dishes. This year, natural materials, flower and plant seed pods and cut flowers will be used in the decorations.

Furthermore, the traditional cooperation with educational establishments will continue at the 2022 reception. Culinary students of the Turku Vocational Institute will work in the kitchen, and students of the Perho Culinary, Tourism and Business College will assist with serving.

Livelähetys

The President of the Republic of Finland's press conference regarding the Independence Day reception on 24 November 2022 (in Finnish)