Celebration of Finnish Independence Day happening Saturday

MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP — Much of the culture of the U.P. has deep roots in Finnish tradition. The League of Finnish American Societies U.P. Chapter has been promoting and preserving Finnish heritage for years, and it’s gearing up for a celebration.

The group will host a Finnish Independence Day event at the new Marquette Township Hall Saturday. The date marks Finland’s declaration of independence from the Russian Empire in 1917.

“For many years after that, the celebration of Independence Day has been more of a memorial day celebration remembering the people that have been lost in the wars and all the wars that have been fought since then,” said Ronald Hill, President of the LFAS U.P. Chapter. “It’s only in recent years that they have changed the celebration to be a joyful celebration rather than a mournful celebration.”

The event will include live folk music and an acclaimed independent film. Visitors will also be able to buy Finnish crafts and baked goods. Due to the proximity of the dates, the festivities will be combined with a celebration of Pikkujoulu or “Little Christmas”, which is traditionally observed by throwing parties.

“They have them for organizations, businesses, families,” Hill said. “I sort of like to think that the tradition that we have here in the United States of having the office parties and stuff like that, this is something that’s come through with our Pikkujoulu, because this is the same type of thing, and so we have our celebration to continue that tradition.”

The event begins at 2:00 p.m. and is free of charge, although visitors are welcomed to make free will donations to the LFAS U.P. Chapter. You can also visit their website for more information.