Finnish Spring Festival – or Vappu

Finnish Spring Festival - or also called Vappu - is celebrated in Finland on May 1st every year

Finnish Spring Festival

There are a number of unusual and happy occasions to celebrate in Finland.

The Finnish Spring Festival is one of them: Vappu (in Finnish/Swedish: Vappen), which celebrates the festival of spring on May 1st.

Vappu as Workers' Day in Finland

May 1st is also the so-called Labor Day in Finland. It is a public holiday. Similar to Germany, the number of participants in political events has been declining in recent years. However, the tradition of celebrating big parties either on the streets of the big cities or in private is unbroken. Similar to the German carnival, many people walk around in costumes. The festivities begin the evening before, on April 30 (Finn. Vapunaatto) and continue on May 1 with big picnics in the city's parks and green spaces. This is how the beginning of spring should be celebrated appropriately by the Finns. The celebrations also feature numerous events such as parades and concerts.

Finnish Spring Festival

Another tradition is Sima, a drink. It is similar to mead when alcoholic and made from honey and water and added lemons and raisins in the Finnish variant. Today, sugar and yeast are used instead of honey. The tippaleipä fried pastry is also part of the celebrations. It is often served in combination with donuts, sausages and potato salad.

Student Vappu tradition

In Finland, Vappu is primarily a student festival. This was not the origin and the beginning of the tradition, but it goes back to 1865. Finnish students brought the customs back home from Lund University in Sweden.

In 1870 it was found that Vappu is celebrated as the highest holiday for students. On this day, all Finns who have graduated from high school wear their white high school graduation cap in public.

In addition to wearing the cap, current students can also be recognized by the fact that they are wearing their student overalls (Haalarit in Finnish). Its different colors indicate the respective faculty or university affiliation. Each region or city has its own May Day customs.

Finnish Spring Festival in Helsinki

In Helsinki, for example, the public celebration of Vappu is opened with the statue of Hais Amanda in the city center being washed by students on April 30 and wearing a white graduation cap.

Finnish Spring Festival in Tampere

In Tampere the same procedure is followed as in Helsinki. In addition, on May 1st, the new students will undergo the Teekkarikaste there. This is an engineering student baptism where students are baptized in the Tammerkoski Rapids.

May Day is not just about Vappu in Finland, but also Mother Goose Day in the US, Batman Day in England and Lai Day in Hawaii.

With this in mind, we wish you a wonderful May 1st holiday