Thursday, December 6, 2007

Congratulations Finland- 90 years!

Today 90 years have passed since Finland declared its independence.

Some history:

In the 18th century, Finland was part of the Swedish Kingdom. In 1809 Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire after being conquered by the armies of Alexander I of Russia in the Finnish War

On December 6, 1917, shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Finland declared its independence, which was approved by Bolshevist Russia.

During World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union twice: in the Winter War of 1939–40 after the Soviet Union had attacked Finland and in the Continuation War of 1941–44, following Operation Barbarossa in which Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Following German losses on the Eastern Front and the subsequent Soviet advance, Finland was forced to make peace with the Soviet Union. This was followed by the Lapland War of 1944–45, when Finland forced the Germans out of northern Finland.

The treaties signed in 1947 and 1948 with the Soviet Union included Finnish obligations, restraints, and reparations as well as further Finnish territorial concessions. Finland ceded most of Finnish Karelia, Salla, and Pechenga, Some 400,000 evacuees, mainly women and children, fled these areas.

My father’s family was among these evacuees and my father had joined the war at the age of 18 in 1942. It is still under speculation why Finland was able to keep its independence after losing the war while Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia lost theirs.

Because Russia did not succeed in destroying the Finnish army, we honour the veterans of the war on our independence day. No firecrackers or excessive drinking like on other festive occasions but candles on the windows, a military parade (in Hämeenlinna this time), and the annual ritual of attending the Independence Day Reception at the Presidential Palace, either in person or via the medium of the television in the corner of the living-room.

Now it seems odd that I am older than Finland was when I was born. My grandparents were born when Finland was still part of Russia. There are not many veterans left any more. I just wonder, when people of my age are gone, how are the festivals going to be? My children of course know the history, but they have no real connection to it. My father never spoke about the war to them. Is there going to be a time when our independence day is a day of joy, not that of remembrancies?


Everymatter said...

Best of Luck to Finland

I am sure that Finland will continue to grow and gain prosperity for its citizens.

JamyTan said...

Is Finland very cold ? How is winter like ? Jamy

Leena Helttula said...

At the moment it is actually warm, about +5 degrees Celsius. Our winters can be cold, here in the south of Finland -25 degrees is not uncommon. Fortunately it does not last usually for very long. In Lapland it is even colder...

Liudmila said...

Oh-ho-ho... warm...+5°C... Here we have warm weather too... +17°C I tink... If it was +5 I would say it's SOOOOO terribly cold!!! In Russia I didn't feel cold even if there were -20°C. Cold was when -35°C (I lived at that time in central Russia). Here I have always cold and don't understand why. Maybe became old?

It's good that the new generations don't think about wars. They have or will have their own story to think and to remember. Maybe they will be more fortunate to live with more joy in hearts.

Leena Helttula said...

Even -25 is very cold here, because I live near the sea. The cold wind makes it feel so much colder :(

JamyTan said...

Oh mine, leena, that is so cool ! Goodness me, I might turn into a Chinese icebop :):). I love to learn new places, cultures and places. In 1990, I backpacked a year and I went and lived in many places. I am an Australia resident before I marry an American husband and since then I have become an American and I think I will settle her for good. But, I have never live in such cold place.
I live in Sydney for 15 years, the weather there is very mild even at winter.
Florida weather is not as gentle as Sydney. We have very hot and humid summer and some cold days in winter but nothing near yours. We use Faherhit here so I went online and check conversion, wow, that is so cold :):).
Lenna, I am doing a series of Florida beaches, for you , ok :):):). Hope you visit Florida again :). I hope one day I will visit Finland. My hubby and me both love traveling.
He has traveled all over the 50states of USA while growing up cos his mama love traveling.
We want to start our traveling once I finish my board exam.

Nice meeting you over in cyberspace :).