By John Ensor • 24 August 2023 • 16:24
Credit: Pixabay, Uschi Dugalin
How does a nation show solidarity during challenging times?
On Thursday, August 24 Ukraine marked its second independence day amidst ongoing conflict. In Helsinki, Ukraine’s Independence Day was commemorated with flags flying high at Senate Square and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building at Merikasarmi. Come evening, the building will glow in the vibrant blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag, writes YLE.
An event supporting Ukraine is set for Thursday evening in Helsinki, with participation expected from the Finnish government. Later in the evening, a sunflower procession will weave its way through Helsinki’s centre, concluding with a gathering at Senate Square and the Cathedral steps. Organisers are optimistic about a large turnout from the local community.
Participants in the procession will receive sunflowers from the organisers at Kansalaistor, starting at 6:15 pm. According to 1800flowers: ‘Ukrainians view the vibrant sunflower as a symbol of peace and resilience. After the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986, Ukrainians planted sunflowers in the devastated area. The flowers not only represented renewal and hope, but they helped extract toxins from the soil.’
The ‘United for Ukraine – United for Peace’ event is a collaborative effort by the Helsinki Parish Association, Mothers for peace, and the Association of Ukrainians in Finland. Supporting the event are the City of Helsinki, the University of Helsinki, and the Embassy of Ukraine.
Prime Minister Petteri Orpo and Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen are both set to join the sunflower procession. The procession will kick off at 6:30 pm from Kansalaistor, moving through Mannerheimintie and Aleksanterinkatu, before reaching Senatintor.
The Senatintor programme will commence shortly after the Choirs’ round big choir performance, around 7:30 pm The evening will open with a speech by Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen. Other notable speakers include former foreign minister Pekka Haavisto and Ukrainian ambassador Olga Dibrova.
In a touching gesture, the cathedral bells will ring in honour of Ukraine and its people. The event is set to conclude with the Ukrainian national anthem, expected to resonate around 8:00 pm.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.
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