Flags are flying in Finland today to celebrate a beloved figure of the Finnish literary world, a writer and artist who created the enchanted world of the Moomins when darkness threatened to overwhelm her country.
Artist Tove Jansson is one of the most influential Finns of the 20th century and she’s now being celebrated with a summer flag day. There was one small mishap on Sunday, when the flag at the Prime Minister’s office was flown upside down by mistake.
The Ministry of Interior recommends that flags are flown on Sunday 9th August – the anniversary of Jansson’s birthday in 1914 – to celebrate Tove, and, the Finnish art world more widely.
“Tove Jansson wrote for both adults and children. The relationship between image and words is unique in the Moomin books, and the books delight new readers decade after decade” wrote Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo in 2019, the first year of Jansson’s flag day.
“Although Jansson is best known for her Moomin books, she was also an esteemed artist and illustrator. Many of her works deal with issues relating to the position of minorities as well as experience and acceptance of differences” Ohisalo said at the time.
With books translated into more than 50 language, Swedish-speaking Jansson is most famous for her Moomin characters which appeared in newspaper cartoon strips, animated cartoons, books, theater productions, an opera and films – but she was also a fine art painter, a muralist, a novelist and illustrator for an anti-Fascist Finslandssvensk publication.
“By flying the flag on Tove Jansson Day, the day of Finnish art, which is organized on the 9th of August, we can continue to celebrate Jansson’s unique influence on Finnish art and literature and also pay attention to the fantastic Finnish art” said Maria Ohisalo.