Finland’s “Vappu”

It has been our desire to immerse ourselves in Finnish culture as much as possible. So, 30 April (Huhtikuu) and 1 May (Toukokuu) found us, in Helsinki, experiencing Finland’s May Day traditions. As we are American immigrants, we don’t have a full concept of the celebration. But, we understand a bit of the significance of the holiday. Last year, we missed the capping of Havis Amanda statue near Esplanade Park, which means we managed to miss being squished in between hundreds (thousands?) of people lifting graduation hats along with their champagne glasses. Truthfully, the crowds were something that we could have done without, as it got to be a little overwhelming at times, but the experience still deepened our understanding of culture. 🙂 Public intoxication is something that we’ve noticed to be generally disdained by the typical Finn, but on May Day, that appears to be set aside as most choose to indulge and celebrate the coming of summer (kesä). So, it was extremely refreshing for us to find a Christian side to the holiday that took place on the Senate Square. Amongst other happenings, a Finnish Christian band – Exit – performed and drew a good-sized crowd.

Finns who graduate from high school or university are given a white hat, and these are traditionally worn on May Day (hence the celebratory capping of Havis Amanda). However, as we are not fully informed on the holiday, we won’t spout a lot of ‘facts’ in this post. If you are Finn and would be willing to share something with us about culture via a comment, please do! 🙂 At any rate, pictures always tell a story, so here you go!

Enjoy, and have a blessed day!

Vappu, Helsinki, Finland – 30/4/2012
In Esplanade Park

Vappu, Helsinki, Finland – 30/4/2012
Near Esplanade Park

Vappu, Helsinki, Finland – 1/5/2012
Pekka Simojoki and Exit in the Senate Square

Vappu, Helsinki, Finland – 1/5/2012
A taste of the massive crowds at Kaivopuisto
Photograph by Candace Alphin

Vappu, Helsinki, Finland – 1/5/2012
A military flyover, but by whom? In the Marketplace near Esplanade Park

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Filed under Christianity, Missions, Photography

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