Vappu, what is that all about?

Here in Finland there is a lot happening around the first of May. This day is called Vappu . It is a national holiday and a day for the spring, the students and the workers. The tradition comes from the “Walpurgisnacht”.  Especially student celebrate Vappu with different events sometimes starting already one week before.

We started celebrating Vappu on the 29th of April. As everyone we were wearing our overalls (haalarit) from then until the 1st of May. In the afternoon there was a little get together for all the exchange students. As the weather was nice we were sitting on the grass at the hill of the art museum, just enjoying life.

The 30th then got more interesting. A lot of students met in front of Educarium (one of the university buildings). There was free punch, a band was playing and we got the first balloons for that day. At around 5 pm students started to gather on the hillside in front of the Turku Art Museum. There were so many people. We didn’t know that Turku had so much! From each faculty there was one student carrying a flag, a band was playing, more balloons were distributed and everyone was happy. At 18:00 o’clock one of the students gave a short speech (in Finish) and then all Finish students put on their white student caps (ylioppilaslakki), which they get when they graduate from high school, all at the same time. After that everyone went down to the river. The dentist students then cleaned a statue, which is there, with a big toothbrush and the statue got a cap as well. In the evening we cooked together with a big group in one of the student village’s kitchens.

On the actual Vappu day, 1st of May, everyone went to the Vartiovuori hill for a big, big picnic. Again a band was playing and everyone had a blanket, some food and drinks to have a nice day around friends.

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