Vappu – May Day – メイ・デー

Are you ready for Vappu!?

今日5月1日はフィンランドのヴァップ、Vappu (5月1日、メイデー)の日です。ヴァップにはフィンランドで最も楽しく和やかなフェスティバルが行われます。

Vappu picnicフィンランドのヴァップは春の訪れ、学生、労働者の人々のためのお祝いです。この三つが一緒になっているのは不思議ですが、実際に全てが祝われています。もちろんフィンランドのいくらかの人は労働者のためヴァップを祝うことの意義についてあまり親しみを持っていませんでした(全ての人が労働者ではない)また同様に学生についてもです。そのためフィンランドでは全ての人が祝うことのできる三つめの意味、春の訪れを付け加えました。


Sima and Tippaleipa

Sima and Tippaleipa




Today we celebrate Vappu, (May 1st or May Day), in Finland. Vappu is one of the most fun and sociable festivities in our country – so here is the story of Vappu.

The Finnish Vappu is a celebration for spring, for high school graduates and for working class. This sounds like a strange mix, and actually it is. Traditionally some Finnish people felt distant from the ideology of celebrating Vappu for working class (this is the international meaning for May Day), while others did not feel comfortable to celebrate it for high school graduates, either. So Finnish people created the third meaning of Vappu – a celebration for spring.

One of the most famous Vappu traditions is wearing your High School Graduation Cap (Finnish Student Cap). Once a year on Vappu, everyone who has once graduated from high school, no matter how many years ago, wears this cap. Even grandmothers and grandfathers take out their already yellowish cap and put it on. Vappu is the time to remember once student times and the nostalgic student parties, and usually the dirtier the cap is, the greater the parties were. On Vappu, you can see endless seas of white capped people everywhere.

On Vappu, people gather outside for a picnic (even though the weather is still usually freezing cold), and enjoy specific Vappu food, such as sima (a cider-like drink) and tippaleivat (a special kind of donut). The streets are filled with balloon vendors and sellers of party hats and other festivity goods. University students usually wear their student overalls showing their study major and faculty.

Vappu is also a day for family, and families with small children get together in towns to enjoy the colorful festivities. Restaurants are usually fully booked with Vappu brunch and lunch dates. If you have a chance to be in Finland on Vappy day, just jump on board and follow the crowds to the most popular picnic location. Enjoy!

Source pictures: Wikimedia Commons