08 May Vappu Eve
Vappu (Labour Day) is, in every Finnish person’s mind, one of the most important celebrations of the year. As I have come to acknowledge during my stay here in Turku, Finnish people commemorate certain days more than most other countries (often in which flags can be seen hoisted around the city), and while most may not be known to the average outsider, Vappu is one which every person (particularly students) should know.
Interestingly, Vappu is something which can be celebrated differently across the different regions of the country. Some cities can begin celebrations up to a week before the “official commemoration” (possibly even a few weeks before), however, most people begin the real celebrations on the 30th April. As with many Finnish celebrations, students in Turku can be seen joyfully drinking, partaking in street events and parties, and there is a certain “energetic” vibe that fills the city.
My Vappu commenced like many other students, as I headed to the educarium to observe many of the stalls, free food, drinks, and events held. Here students can be seen conversing with one another and enjoying the live music played on a nearby stage. Continuing on, I went with my girlfriend to her friend’s house where we enjoyed a Vappu brunch before journeying out to one of the most important events of the day held outside Taidenmuseonmäki. Here, a speech is given upon which everyone then puts on their graduation hats and commence their celebrations.
Food and Drinks
As many will come to observe, each holiday is defined by the consumption of traditional Finnish foods and drinks. Vappu is certainly no different. During the Vappu period, “Sima,” a drink infusing orange, lemon, sugar, and yeast, is typically consumed by everyone and is widely available across all stores (you can make it yourself but it takes up to a week to prepare). With regards to food, Finns will often enjoy tippaleipä, a deep-fried pastry with a crispy texture, and munkki, a deep fried dough ball, covered in sugar, with a doughnut texture.
The day, overall, was certainly one in which I recommend all incoming students participate and one definitely not to miss out on!