Have you heard about Vappuholiday? It is a Finnish name for the event that is celebrated as International Labour Day around the world. In Finland, there are strong and unique traditions for the Vappu holiday.
Vappu Holiday: what is it?
Vappu is a unique holiday that is celebrated annually, and it marks the end of winter in Finland. The festival is named after the English missionary Saint Walpurga; as Walpurga’s feast was held on the 1st of May, she became associated with Vappu.
Vappu holiday is something you really want to be a part of as a student. It is the biggest party of the year for students. Some students start the celebrations already a few weeks before “pääpäivä,” the main celebration day. The celebrations can consist of different types of cheerful events depending on the University. For Labour Day itself, the traditional program is similar everywhere.
Vappu Eve is kind of a Finnish version of carnival. You can expect to see students wearing colorful student overalls – every University Faculty has its own color. People are also wearing white caps with a black visors. All Finnish students get these caps upon graduation from high school to remind them of their accomplishments and good student days. Older people usually wear their caps only once a year, during the Vappu holiday.
What do people do during Vappu Holiday?
The main festivities start on the 30th of April, also known as Walpurgis Night or Vappu Eve. In Helsinki, at 6 o’clock in the evening, students will gather at Market Square to wash the statue of a nude female called Havis Amanda before putting a huge white cap on her. People toast with champagne and wish each other ‘Hauskaa Vappua.’ The celebration goes on all night until the next morning. On the 1st of May, everyone heads to the parks, where they have a picnic and drink “skumppa”, sparkling wine. The best way to get rid of any tiredness from the previous night!
What to eat and drink during Vappu Holiday?
Now it is time to talk about what to eat and drink during the Vappu holiday. If you are visiting Finland, be sure to order the following traditional foods in restaurants or at food stalls when you see them.
Sima, the Finnish mead
Sima is a sweet, low-percentage alcoholic drink that is mainly consumed on the Vappu holiday and is most of the time homemade. It is orange in color and has some raisins floating on top of it. A nice refreshing drink for the Vappu holiday!
Tippaleipä is a type of funnel cake. The batter is poured into hot cooking oil and deep-fried, then it is sprinkled with powdered sugar. Nutella works too.
Last but not least, munkki, a type of Finnish donut. It’s almost like a traditional donut but different. Munkki is made of different dough and is usually round-shaped.
Check for more weird-looking Finnish foods.
If you are planning a trip to Finland during spring or you are currently studying there, I can recommend participating in the Vappu holiday with the Finns for the weekend. It is a great way to experience a typical Finnish festivity with lots of parties and good food.
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