Public holidays in Finland

Last updated

All official holidays in Finland are established by acts of Parliament. The official holidays can be divided into Christian and non-Christian holidays. [1] 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 flying days. A day's status as a flag flying 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 the status of both a flag flying day and a public holiday. Midsummer Day is also Flag Day.

Finland has an official National Day, 6 December. Some minor observances are also denoted in the Finnish calendar, though they have not been judged worthy of either holiday or flag flying day status.

List of holidays

DateEnglish NameLocal Name – Finnish Local Name – Swedish Remarks
1 January New Year's Day UudenvuodenpäiväNyårsdagen 
6 January Epiphany LoppiainenTrettondedagen 
Moveable Friday Good Friday PitkäperjantaiLångfredagenThe Friday before Easter Sunday
Moveable Sunday Easter Sunday PääsiäispäiväPåskdagen 
Moveable Monday Easter Monday 2. pääsiäispäiväAnnandag påskThe day after Easter Sunday
1 May May Day VappuFörsta majSee Walpurgis Night
Moveable Thursday Ascension Day HelatorstaiKristi himmelfärdsdag39 days after Easter Sunday
Moveable Sunday Pentecost Sunday HelluntaipäiväPingst49 days after Easter Sunday
Friday between 19 and 25 June Midsummer Eve JuhannusaattoMidsommaraftonNon-official – Non-business day in the Annual Holidays Act (162/2005) – holiday in some collective labor agreements
Saturday between 20 and 26 June Midsummer Day JuhannuspäiväMidsommardagenMoved from 24 June
Saturday between 31 October and 6 November All Saints' Day PyhäinpäiväAlla helgons dagMoved from 1 November
6 December Independence Day ItsenäisyyspäiväSjälvständighetsdagen 
24 December Christmas Eve Jouluaatto JulaftonNon-official – Non-business day in the Annual Holidays Act (162/2005) – holiday in some collective labor agreements
25 December Christmas Day Joulupäivä Juldagen 
26 December St Stephen's Day 2. joulupäivä or tapaninpäiväAnnandag jul 

See also

Related Research Articles

Liturgical year Annually recurring fixed sequence of Christian feast days

The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read either in an annual cycle or in a cycle of several years.

By law, "the Sundays and the public holidays remain protected as days of rest from work and of spiritual elevation". Thus all Sundays are, in a manner, public holidays – but usually not understood by the term "holiday".

In the Catholic Church, holy days of obligation are days on which the faithful are expected to attend Mass, and engage in rest from work and recreation, according to the Third Commandment.

Twelve Days of Christmas Period between 25 December and 5 January

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a festive Christian season celebrating the Nativity of Jesus. In some Western ecclesiastical traditions, "Christmas Day" is considered the "First Day of Christmas" and the Twelve Days are 25 December to 5 January, inclusive, with 6 January being a "thirteenth day" in some traditions and languages. However, 6 January is most often considered Twelfth Day/Twelfth Night with the Twelve Days "of" Christmas actually after Christmas Day from 26 December to 6 January. For many Christian denominations—for example, the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Church—the Twelve Days are identical to Christmastide, but for others, e.g., the Roman Catholic Church, Christmastide lasts longer than the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Christmastide Christian liturgical period

Christmastide is a season of the liturgical year in most Christian churches. In some Christian denominations, Christmastide is identical to Twelvetide, a similar concept.

Epiphany (holiday) Christian feast, public holiday in some countries

Epiphany, also known as Theophany in the east, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation (theophany) of God incarnate as Jesus Christ.

Feast of the Ascension Christian commemoration

The Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ, also called Ascension Day, Ascension Thursday, or sometimes Holy Thursday, commemorates the Christian belief of the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven. It is one of the ecumenical feasts of Christian churches, ranking with the feasts of the Passion, of Easter, and Pentecost. Following the account of Acts 1:3 that the risen Jesus appeared for 40 days prior to his Ascension, Ascension Day is traditionally celebrated on a Thursday, the fortieth day of Easter; although some Christian denominations have moved the observance to the following Sunday. In the Catholic Church in the United States, the day of observance varies by ecclesiastical province. In 2021, it also coincides with Eid Al-Fitr and the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

Eastertide Festal season in the liturgical year of Christianity

Eastertide or Paschaltide is a festal season in the liturgical year of Christianity that focuses on celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It begins on Easter Sunday, which initiates Easter Week in Western Christianity, and Bright Week in Eastern Christianity. There are several Eastertide customs across the Christian world, including sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church, and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb. The Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection, traditionally serve as the chancel flowers that decorate the chancel area of churches throughout Eastertide. Other Eastertide customs include egg hunting, eating special Easter foods and watching Easter parades.

Epiphany season Liturgical period, immediately following the Christmas season

The Epiphany season, also known as Epiphanytide or the time of Sundays After Epiphany, is a liturgical period, celebrated by many Christian Churches, which immediately follows the Christmas season. It begins on Epiphany Day, and ends at various points as defined by those denominations. The typical liturgical color for the day of Epiphany is white, and the typical color for Epiphany season is green.

This article lists the feast days of the General Roman Calendar as they were at the end of 1954. It is essentially the same calendar established by Pope Pius X (1903–1914) following his liturgical reforms, but it also incorporates changes that were made by Pope Pius XI (1922–1939), such as the institution of the Feast of Christ the King, and the changes made by Pope Pius XII (1939–1958) prior to 1955, chief among them the imposition of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary upon the universal Church in 1944, the inscription of Pius X into the General Calendar following his 1954 canonization, and the institution of the Feast of the Queenship of Mary in October 1954.

"Octave" has two senses in Christian liturgical usage. In the first sense, it is the eighth day after a feast, reckoning inclusively, and so always falls on the same day of the week as the feast itself. The word is derived from Latin octava (eighth), with dies (day) understood. In the second sense, the term is applied to the whole period of these eight days, during which certain major feasts came to be observed.

Principal Feasts are a type of observance in some churches of the Anglican Communion, including the Church of England, the Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church of Canada. All Principal Feasts are also Principal Holy Days, sharing equal status with those Principal Holy Days which are not Principal Feasts. They are considered to be the most significant type of observance, the others being Festivals, Lesser Festivals, and Commemorations. As with all Principal Holy Days, their observance is obligatory. The Anglican Principal Feasts and Principal Holy Days are somewhat comparable to Roman Catholic Solemnities and Holy days of obligation.

Liturgical calendar (Lutheran)

The Lutheran liturgical calendar is a listing which details the primary annual festivals and events that are celebrated liturgically by various Lutheran churches. The calendars of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) are from the 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship and the calendar of Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Lutheran Church - Canada use the Lutheran Book of Worship and the 1982 Lutheran Worship. Elements unique to the ELCA have been updated from the Lutheran Book of Worship to reflect changes resulting from the publication of Evangelical Lutheran Worship in 2006. The elements of the calendar unique to the LCMS have also been updated from Lutheran Worship and the Lutheran Book of Worship to reflect the 2006 publication of the Lutheran Service Book.

In 1955 Pope Pius XII made several changes to the General Roman Calendar of 1954, changes that remained in force only until 1960, when Pope John XXIII, on the basis of further recommendations of the commission that Pius XII had set up, decreed a further revision of the General Roman Calendar. The changes made by Pope Pius XII thus remained unaltered for only five years.

Lists of holidays by various categorizations.

The Ranking of liturgical days in the Roman Rite is a regulation for the liturgy of the Roman Catholic church. It determines for each liturgical day which observance has priority when liturgical dates and times coincide, which texts are used for the celebration of the Holy Mass and the Liturgy of the hours and which liturgical color is assigned to the day or celebration.

Public holidays in Sweden in Sweden are established by acts of Parliament. The official holidays can be divided into Christian and non-Christian holidays. The Christian holidays are jul (Christmas). trettondedag jul (Epiphany), påsk (Easter), Kristi himmelsfärds dag, pingstdagen (Pentecost) and alla helgons dag. The non-Christian holidays are: nyårsdagen, första maj, Sveriges nationaldag and midsommar (Midsummer); Midsummer is, however, officially also a Christian holiday to celebrate John the Baptist's birthday.

In the Calendar of the Church in Wales, each holy and saint’s day listed has been assigned a number which indicates its category. Commemorations not included in this Calendar may be observed with the approval of the bishop.


  1. "Flag Days and Holidays – Yliopiston almanakkatoimisto". Retrieved 24 December 2017.