Changing times as the theme of the Independence Day reception

Photo: Matti Porre/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland

President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö and his spouse Jenni Haukio will host an Independence Day reception at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday 6 December 2023. The theme of reception is changing times.

This year, the guests include approximately 1,700 people from around Finland, who have distinguished themselves in a variety of ways. Among them, there are people with long and illustrious careers who have acted as trailblazers, role models and mentors in their fields. Invitees also include skilled young innovators, frontrunners working with key success factors for the future and professionals who guarantee security in society and everyday life. Special attention has been paid to actions that support children and young people.

As in previous years, a significant number of the guests have been invited for the first time.

The guests of honour at the Independence Day reception are war veterans and members of the women’s voluntary civil defence organisation Lotta Svärd. For them, the Presidential couple hosts a traditional coffee reception in the Yellow Room of the Presidential Palace. This year, the war veterans and members of the Lotta Svärd organisation will arrive from the Esplanadi side of the building as Jääkärimarssi (Jäger March) by Jean Sibelius is being played.

The music reflects Finnish identity and traditions

On the Independence Day, the music at the Hall of State will be played by the Guards Band, who have been performing in representative state duties for more than 200 years. Later, Kaartin Combo will continue with vocalist Ilta. The music has been selected with cherishing the traditions in mind and with the focus on Finnish music. In addition to Finnish classics, arrangements of newer songs will also be heard when dance music is played.

Music at the coffee reception for the honorary guests, the veterans of our wars and members of the Lotta Svärd organisation, will be performed by Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat (YL Male Voice Choir), renowned as a pioneer of Finnish choir art.

Sami Pitkämö and his orchestra will be in charge of the music in the third-floor salon. Their repertoire includes the most beloved classics and evergreen melodies from past decades.

A look into previous Independence Day receptions in catering

Finnish produce and environmental friendliness are emphasised again in the catering and decorations of the Independence Day 2023 reception. A special theme this year are the previous Independence Day receptions hosted by the presidential couple. The catering will include a popular food item from each earlier reception.

Special care has been taken to select organic produce, local food and other as environmentally friendly products as possible for the reception. The buffet will serve, for example, fish, game, berries, vegetables and Finnish mushrooms. One of the fillings used in the vegetable-based sandwich cakes will be carrot, selected the vegetables of the year 2023.

The decorations of the reception will be classic in style and feature generous amounts of flowers. The colours used in addition to white and blue are pastel tones of lilac and pink. This year’s flowers are rose, carnation, freesia, germini, calla lily, lisianthus and lily.

The traditional cooperation with educational institutions will also continue. In the kitchen, there will be students from the Perho Culinary, Tourism and Business College preparing sandwich cakes for the reception. Students of Omnia, the Joint Authority of Education in the Espoo region, will assist in catering tasks.

Health security is taken into account in the arrangements

Health security will be taken into account in reception arrangements in multiple ways. The ventilation of the Presidential Palace has been enhanced during the reception. Air filters and hand sanitizer stations have been placed in the facilities available to guests. Face masks are also available for those who want to use them.

Guests have been asked to be mindful of others and to refrain from attending if they feel ill, have any symptoms indicative of a COVID-19 infection or if they have recently been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.