This annual celebration of music, dances, theatre and anything visual arts is participated by Finnish artists and international performers. As Finland's grandest event, the Helsinki Festival experiences tourism overflow where visitors and locals alike enjoy the jolly atmosphere while the festival stretches for 17 days. The air of mixed cultural expression and modern spirit of youth is evident all over Helsinki. Concerts, jazz, pop music, opera and various entertainment forms await all participants.
Forces of Light Festival
Sharp lights of burning fire swirls in a golden motion of artistic expression. To bring warmth to Helsinki's winter solstice, the Forces of Light Festival is an annual celebration contrasting the city's darkness and the brightness of fire, lights and colors. There is no standard medium for lighting nor participating as everyone is encouraged to create any form of light to parade or to display.
One of Finland's biggest festivals, the Walpurgis Night or Vappu, is a carnival-like celebration spreading throughout Finnish cities. This annual event encourages bountiful picnics with elaborate usage of alcohol units and sparkling wine.
Midsummer or Juhannus is when the shortest night of the year occurs and the longest day is ahead. Celebrated in commemoration of St. John, Midsummer centers upon the period of summer solstice when locals retreat to their summer houses and burn large bonfires. Those of Swedish descent put up poles embellished with ribbons and flowers. This tradition is one of Finland's most important events. It is also Finland's National Flag Day.
Finland's Independence Day
Finland's independence from the Russians is celebrated on this national public holiday. The festivities star off with the raising of the flag in Helsinki, the religious service at the Helsinki Cathedral, visits to WWII Memorial, and the telecast of the gala reception at the Presidential Palace known as Linnan juhlat. No more than 2000 selected guests are invited to this event. Politicians, dignitaries, members of the Parliament and Government, bishops, high-ranking officials, diplomats, and the president's own choosing usually consists of celebrities, athletes, icons or anyone who made a mark that year. This lavish gala is patronized by the tv viewing public.