Vappu in Helsinki 30.4 – 1.5
Vappu (May Day) is is a huge deal in Finland. It’s a wild carnival that is so popular among the Finns you could say it’s in contention for the unofficial independence day 2 (Juhannus – Mid Summer – is equally popular). In Helsinki tens of thousands of Finns celebrate the spring and flock the streets and parks. Traditionally celebrated by university students and the working class the Vappu has a special meaning for the Finns. The long and hard Winter is just about finally over, and it’s time for the darkness to go away and be replaced eventually by 2 weeks of summer.
The mayhem begins on the 30th of April at 6 pm with the students gathering at the Market Square to wash the statue of Havis Amanda and place a student cap on her head. Thats a decent place to get a feel for the atmosphere. Balloons and alcohol are the required attire, if you are a technical masters student, you also need overalls. From there on the whole city practically goes crazy, continuing with hard partying all through the night to welcome the May Day in the parks of Helsinki the next day by enjoying delicious picnic food and more drinks, a lot more drinks. To experience the authentic Vappu picnic on May Day you should head to Kaivopuisto Park or Ullanlinnanmäki on the 1st of May, there you will find thousands of happy and tipsy Finns enjoying the hopefully sunny spring day.
Vappuaatto / May Day Eve
The show starts at 5 pm when the Aalto University students arrive as a large May Day parade to the statue.
4 pm: The parades for Aalto students start at Hietalahdentori and Pohjoinen Rautatienkatu in front of the KY building.
5 pm: Manta show begins with the cleaning of Manta
6 pm: Manta is crowned.
8 pm: Crystal Showclub opens
Important Vappu survival vocabulary for the May Day picnic in Kaivopuisto Park
- vappupallot = air balloons
- sima = mead
- tippaleivät = sweet funnel bread
- nakit ja perunasalaatti = Sausages and potatoe salad
- ylioppilas- / teekkarilakki = white hat worn in Vappu by university students and high school graduates
- Opiskelijahaalarit = Overalls worn by University students. The colours actually mark different universities and faculties.
You may expect the shops to have very different opening hours and most of the restaurants to be fully booked.
And after the sun sets
The natural place to go for elegant entertainment and a sophisticated party atmosphere, (after you have had your opportunity to experience the enthusiasms of the Finnish Vappu folks) is Crystal Show Club We are open from 9pm until 5 am every night and just a 5 minute walk from just about anywhere in the central Helsinki area.