Vappu – The Finnish Mardi Gras
Vappu, one of the biggest celebrations in Finland is going to happen tomorrow. It starts on the eve of 30th April and continues until the day after. the current tradition is a grand carnival type of celebration with lots of parties, drinking and eating. The biggest Vappu party goers are the students and Technical University student especially.
The official festivities of the day start at 18:00 at the Market Square in Helsinki, when the statue of Havis Amanda (the naked lady) has had her yearly wash by one of the University Faculties (rotating honor), and then gets her student hat. At that point the thousands of people who have gathered to the Esplanade Park to cheer the start of Vappu, put their student hats on and cheer with sparkling wine or champagne. From then on it is all about fun and partying. No matter the weather. Check out some pictures from previous years here, or google it “mantan lakitus”
This year you can celebrate also in a more organised matter by joining the Street Food Carnival in Kasarmintori, dancing in Vallila or joining the Helsinki Pride Puistojuhla.
Other things to see in Helsinki during Vappu on 1st of May is the Kaivopuisto Park, where Finns gather for a celebratory spring pick nick with thousands of other party goers. You will never see so many Finns tightly packed to one place (unless you go to a music festival in the summer), grilling and enjoying food and drink with their friends. Below images from previous Vappu.
Room for a few more
It’s filling up
Traditional foods and drinks for the Vappu party include self-made Sima (mead), funnel cakes, doughnuts, potato salad, marinated herring, grilled meats and sausages, champagne and sparkling wine, salads, puff pastries, chips and anything else you might take for a pick nick.