A pun for party people: Finnish Your Dinner, under the sky

What makes an outdoor meal into a full-fledged, unforgettable dining experience? Maybe it’s the white tablecloth.

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In 2017, with Finland celebrating 100 years as an independent nation, a special dinner is taking place, and anyone, anywhere in the world, can participate. The big din-din, nicknamed Finnish Your Dinner, happens the weekend of August 25 to 27. August 26 is exactly 100 days before Finland’s 100th Independence Day (December 6).

Finnish Your Dinner is modelled on Dinner Under the Sky, an annual summer event held in Helsinki (June 12 in 2017), except that this August the festivities are extended to everywhere the sky is visible. (Full disclosure: Finnish Your Dinner is produced by the same people who do Dinner Under the Sky, participatory city culture organization Yhteismaa, along with the City of Helsinki, the Elo Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Food Culture and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.) Finnish Your Dinner also has similarities to Restaurant Day, a wildly successful Finnish creation that encourages people to open their own pop-up restaurants for a day, posting their locations online.

For Finnish Your Dinner, as with Dinner Under the Sky, people set up dining tables outside in the spirit of a block party. That’s where the white tablecloth comes in. It raises the ante. Event organisers are encouraging participants to cover the tables to make the occasion a little fancier and a lot more festive.

Dinner parties are grand

Instead of lines of cars, a long line of tables and diners occupies Helsinki’s Northern Esplanade during Dinner Under the Sky.Photo: Jaakko Blomberg/ Dinner Under the Sky

You can invite your friends while also leaving a few seats open for people from your neighbourhood or beyond, if you like. These extra guests of honour can sign up after you post your notice on the Finnish Your Dinner website (opens June 18, link below) under Your Own Dinner Party. It’s a great way to share in the Finland 100 celebrations, no matter where you live or what nationality you are.

Whoever posts the event sets the dress code, but the site recommends suggesting people wear some blue and white, the colours of the Finnish flag. Need tips about what to serve? Try including something from the official Finland 100 menu, or from ThisisFINLAND’s other Finnish recipe pages (links below). You can choose something that suits your ambition level and your locally available ingredients. However, the focus is mainly on bringing people together to enjoy each other’s company.

Finnish embassies in a dozen countries around the world are throwing their own versions of Finnish Your Dinner parties. You can sign up on the Finnish Your Dinner website (starting June 18); look for Grand Dinner Party.

By ThisisFINLAND staff, June 2017

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