Friday, 1 May 2009

Happy May-Day!

Hauskaa Vappua! Happy 1st of May! May-Day (or Vappu in Finnish) is the one and only carneval-like holiday here in Finland. It is a festival of students, past and present, and of workers. In Helsinki the celebrations start on the eve of May-Day with university students washing the statue of Havis Amanda in the Market Square in the center of Helsinki and putting a student cap on the statue's head (See this link for a picture of the "crowning". That is how it is done nowadays :). In the past the students climbed on the statue, but that was prohibited as it could have damaged the statue.) Thousands of people gather on the Square to watch the ceremonies. Many party all through the night and continue then straight to Kaivopuisto Park, which in the morning of May-Day is really like one huge picnic (see a picture here), thousans of people picnicing there!

Traditional May-Day food and drink includes:
-sausages and potato salad
-May-Day fritters
-champagne and sparkling wine (lots of it! :))

Other accesories :) include:
-student caps
-carnival wigs
-colourful streamers
-picnic baskets

The picture in the beginning of this post shows my little May-Day treat: a class of mead and a May-Day fritter by Fazer Bakeries. A close-up of the fritter below.

Read more of Finnish May-Day traditions here and here.

If you feel really brave and adventurous :), here you can find recipes for both May-Day fritters and mead.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great tradition! Happy May Day!



Anonymous said...

I lived in Helsinki for 5 years and have had many fun Vappu celebrations there. Will for sure miss the picnic in Kaivo this year!