Public holidays in Finland
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
All official holidays in Finland are established by acts of Parliament. The official holidays can be divided into Christian and non-Christian holidays. The main Christian holidays are Christmas, New Year's Day, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension day, Pentecost, Midsummer Day, and All Saints' Day. The non-Christian holidays are May Day and the Independence Day of Finland.
In addition to this all Sundays are official holidays but they are not as important as the special holidays. The names of the Sundays follow the liturgical calendar and they can be categorized as Christian holidays. When, in the late 1960s, the standard working week in Finland was reduced to 40 hours by an act of Parliament, it also meant that all Saturdays became a sort of de facto public holidays, though not official ones. Easter Sunday and Pentecost are Sundays that form part of a main holiday and they are preceded by a kind of special Saturdays.
Several Christian holidays traditionally falling on working days or on fixed dates have been moved to Saturdays and Sundays. In 1955, Midsummer day was moved to the Saturday following 19 June, the feast of the Annunciation to the Sunday following 21 March (or, if this coincides with Easter or with Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Palm Sunday), and All Saints' Day to the Saturday following 30 October. More holidays were moved in 1973: Epiphany to the Saturday following 5 January and Ascension Day to the Saturday before the traditional Thursday, but these revisions were reversed in 1991.
Christmas Eve and Midsummer Eve might very well be the single most important holidays during the entire year for Finns. Surprisingly they are not officially called holidays and are not so marked in calendars, but for most people, are not working days, and in practice they differ from official holidays only in that most shops are open on those days from early morning till noon. They hold this de facto status partly due to some statements in legislation but also because most employment contracts provides for these days as full holidays. A number of the less important main holidays are also preceded by de facto half days, meaning that in some (but not all) offices working hours are then shorter than normally. These are Maundy Thursday, the day before May Day and New Year's Eve.
Already before the 5 days working week was generally adopted in Finland in the late 1960s, working hours in most cases were shorter on Saturdays (4...5 h) than on other weekdays (8 h), but they were equally shorter also on all eves of public holidays, for example on the eve of Epiphany, the eve of All Saints' Day, and even including Christmas Eve and Midsummer Eve. But when Saturdays ceased to be working days, new contracts removed these shortenings from other holiday eves, except from Midsummer and Christmas Eve which also became de facto holidays.
The Finnish calendar also provides for special flag days. A day's status as a flag day has no formal link with an eventual status as an official or as a de facto holiday. However, May Day, Midsummer Day and Independence Day have both the status of a flag day and a public holiday.
|Date||English Name||Local Name – Finnish||Local Name – Swedish||Remarks|
|1 January||New Year's Day||Uudenvuodenpäivä||Nyårsdagen|
|Moveable Friday||Good Friday||Pitkäperjantai||Långfredagen||The Friday before Easter Sunday|
|Moveable Sunday||Easter Sunday||Pääsiäispäivä||Påskdagen|
|Moveable Monday||Easter Monday||2. pääsiäispäivä||Andra påskdagen||The day after Easter Sunday|
|1 May||May Day||Vappu||Valborgsmässoafton||See Walpurgis Night|
|Moveable Thursday||Ascension Day||Helatorstai||Kristi himmelfärds dag||39 days after Easter Sunday|
|Moveable Sunday||Pentecost||Helluntaipäivä||Pingst||49 days after Easter Sunday|
|Friday between 19 June and 25 June||Midsummer Eve||Juhannusaatto||Midsommarafton||Non official – Non-working day in the annual holiday act law 162/2005|
|Saturday between 20 June and 26 June||Midsummer Day||Juhannuspäivä||Midsommardagen||Moved from 24 June|
|Saturday between 31 October and 6 November||All Saints' Day||Pyhäinpäivä||Alla helgons dag||Moved from 1 November|
|6 December||Independence Day||Itsenäisyyspäivä||Självständighetsdagen|
|24 December||Christmas Eve||Jouluaatto||Julafton||Non official – Non-working day in the annual holiday act law 162/2005|
|25 December||Christmas Day||Joulupäivä||Juldagen|
|26 December||St Stephen's Day||2. joulupäivä or tapaninpäivä||Andra juldagen|
|All Sundays||Sunnuntai||Söndag||Official holidays – names follow the Liturgical year|