Vappu day, the warm heart of Finland

Forty-eight hours of no-stop party. We are in Finland , incredible but true, in that part of the world that people talk about as cold, icy and not at all festive. Well, none of this, and if it were the other part of the world to be too caciarona, casino and overwhelming? How to say … “the other side of the coin” we must always observe it well, because surprises can be many and exciting!

So we are in Helsinky , where from 30 April to 1 May there is none for anyone, we are all at Vappu Day, in Finnish they call it that, it is Valborg in Swedish, the official language in Finland and Walpurgis in English, in reference to the festival of St. Walpurga. Vappu is the historic event that for centuries enshrines: the arrival of summer, the end of classes, the celebrations for workers … in short “at the top of the glasses, but strictly with Italian prosecco … kippis! in Finnish).

During Vappu Day there is only one prohibition: sadness, in fact it is tradition that during this day everyone should be happy.

So the appointment is at Esplanadi Park , the market square, at 18 o’clock on April 30th.

Here is the traditional washing with water and soap by the Finnish students of Havis Amanda, the statue of a woman who dominates the fountain in the center of the square, on whose head is then placed the lakki , the sailor’s head symbol of the party. Among the characteristics of the event is not missing, in fact, the uniform! All wear the lakki, also known as ylioppilaslakki, the white hat with black visor typical of those who graduated from high school (lukio).

It is very fascinating to see 80-year-old seniors with 18-year-olds, all with lakki and some with the inevitable haalari, the full-field suit of university students. For each faculty there is a color that characterizes it. The suit is covered with patches that represent the symbols of the companies that sponsor the faculties to which they belong.

If you climb a roof, which is quite normal during the festive event, also because the roofs are always very low, you will notice that there are white and other cream colored lakki. The difference lies only in the wearer. In fact, the lakki can not, by tradition, wash and so the years go by and parties and the lakki becomes cream-colored.

Every faculty, or better, the garden of every university faculty is a party theater! On the roofs of the buildings there are musical bands, as well as on the old firemen vans, wherever there is someone ready to fill you up with the glass that, as a rule of Vappu, is part of the uniform.

There are even “mobile” saunas that are handcrafted on lawns along with heated pools made of plastic-lined containers. If you peek inside it will be fun to watch some Finnish with duck in tow!

The night is long and the party never ends, until May 1, where the appointment is at the park of Kaivopuisto known, among the Finns, also with the name of Ullanlinnanmäki , but you will not find it on the map!

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