Dance, song and shared joy – 6th-graders’ Independence Day party was all about being together

6.12.2022 10.11Updated: 9.12.2022 10.22

The City of Espoo organised an event for sixth-graders to celebrate Finnish Independence Day. The celebrations took place in Opinmäki on Thursday 1 December. The event, organised together with the Conscript Band of the Finnish Defence Forces, included speeches and greetings, but also dancing, singing and toasting for both Finland’s 105th anniversary as an independent nation and Espoo’s 50th anniversary as a city.

The traditional sixth-graders’ Independence Day celebrations were held in person after two years of virtual get-togethers. During the event day, three separate feasts were organised for a total of 4,000 pupils and their teachers.

The sixth-graders’ Independence Day celebrations have been organised in partnership with the Conscript Band of the Finnish Defence Forces since 2017.

The pupils of Storängens skola had prepaired for the celebrations by practicing the dances.

Programme focused on community

You could sense the excitement and the long wait in the lobby of the Opinmäki education complex as festively dressed sixth-graders prepared to start off the event with a welcome toast. They had been practising the steps of waltz and cicapo throughout the autumn. To prepare for the celebrations, they had also discussed etiquette and practised how to greet the City representatives.

“We rehearsed the songs and dances in PE classes. The waltz was a bit difficult the first time, but it got easier with time,” the pupils from Storängens skola said.

Mayor Jukka Mäkelä and the representatives of the Growth and Learning Sector greeted the pupils as the latter entered the venue. The programme began with the Mayor’s speech and a video greeting from Minister of Education Li Andersson. Both speeches emphasised the importance of community after exceptional times.

Mayor Jukka Mäkelä held a speech and thanked Onni Lonka for the song written in honor of Espoo’s 50 years as a city.

After the dances and the national hymn, the participants sang a song together: Yhdessä ollaan enemmän, composed specifically for the anniversary celebrations.

“The programme here has been so much fun. The speeches were about Finland and Espoo, and there was instrumental music and singing too. This was great, and there were a lot more people than we had thought,” the pupils of the Komeetta unit of Päivänkehrän koulu described their experience.

The festivities ended with both pupils and teachers dancing to the music played by the Conscript Band of the Finnish Defence Forces. Looking at the cheer and joy witnessed at the festivities, spending time together was welcome after long periods of social distancing.

The pupils from Päivänkehrän koulu enjoyed the festivities.

Celebrating independence and the City of Espoo

In addition to Finland’s independence, the celebrations at Opinmäki also honoured Espoo’s 50 years as a city. When leaving the great hall, the pupils admired the works of art made by each other, themed ‘My Espoo.’

“We hope that, in 50 years, Espoo will be even more accessible to everyone. Then again, we are happy with Espoo as it is,” said the pupils from Espoo International School.

The pupils from Espoo International School celebrated in familiar surroundings, at their own school.
  • Growth and Learning
  • Basic Education