Helsinki Day festivities serve virtual events and rhubarb pie

The capital's 470th birthday is being celebrated a little differently this year, but some traditional elements remain.

File picture of Helsinki flags outside City Hall / Credit: Visit Helsinki

The Finnish capital city is celebrating its 470th anniversary, but this year’s Helsinki Day festivities are going online due to social distancing concerns during the coronavirus epidemic.

On June 12th 1550 King Gustav Vasa of Sweden established the city of Helsinki at the mouth of the Vantaanjoki river.

During the day on Friday there will be awards given out to distinguished local residents who have made contributions to the fields of art, science, sports and sustainable development. Later there will be music, circus and dance performance fun for children; and Finnish pop star Alma will debut her new album in a virtual concert on Friday evening.

The popular ‘Dinner Under the Helsinki Sky’ event that brings city residents together for picnic meal in Esplanadi is now happening online with people invited to eat a virtual dinner together.

All of the online events can be found at Helsinki’s video channel here; and the programme can be found at the Helsinki Day website.

Rhubarb pie file picture / Credit: City of Helsinki

Traditional rhubarb pie for thousands 

Also today Helsinki residents and workers will be able to eat some traditional rhubarb pie with more than 30,000 portions being served at daycare centres, elderly homes and for healthcare workers in staff canteens.

“Rhubarb pie is a fine early summer product, which we have served ot the Helsinki celebration for more than 20 years” says Mikael Neuvonen from Service Centre Helsinki.

“What could be better than celebrating our home town by enjoying a delicacy together! Our production facility will prepare almost 2,000 kilos of rhubarb pie for the city residents to enjoy” he explains.

Rhubarb pie was originally chosen as the official dessert for Helsinki Day due to its early harvest season.