Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Itsenäisyyspäivä

Itsenäisyyspäivä translates to Independence Day in Finnish.

These are photos I shot at the estate of the late Finnish composer Jean Sibelius when I accompanied Mayor Bill Bogaard and his field representative, Judy Kent, to Järvenpää, Finland, in summer 2008 for a celebration of the 25th anniversary of our sister city relationship.

Finland was gobbled up by Russian Czar Alexander I in 1809 and declared its independence from Czar Nicholas II on Dec. 6, 1917.

Sibelius composed the iconic "Finlandia" for a pageant in 1899; Czar Nicholas II banned it because it became so identified with Finnish national aspirations.

There's a statue of Czar Alexander II in Helsinki. He's considered the "good czar" by Finns because when he came into power in 1855 he agreed to let them maintain their Lutheran faith and the laws of their land.

Here are Judy Kent, Mayor Bogaard and I at the Helsinki statue, posing for a "Star-News on Vacation" shot:

I want to give a special shout-out to Leena Ritala-Skoutaris, a special friend in Finland:

Happy Itsenäisyyspäiväm, Leena!

The photo of Leena was shot by Judy Kent.


Jean Spitzer said...

Love these photos. happy independence day to you, too!

Bellis said...

I loved my time in Finland in the 70s. The people were so friendly to us when we were hitchhiking around. Your Finnish brings it all back. It's an impossible language, and when ordering food we just pointed at an item on the menu and hoped for the best.

pasadenapio said...

It was the first and only place I ate reindeer meat!

Jean Spitzer said...

I have a copy of Pippi Longstocking in the Finnish language.

Why Pippi? Because it's a book I know in English, so getting a copy of it in the language of the country I was visiting seemed logical.

You have to love books and bookstores, I guess, for there to be any "logic" in this.

Skipped reindeer meat; did have licorice ice cream.
wv: imilit

Oskars Keiss, LV said...

Paljon kiitoksia!