The end of April marks a very special time on the Finnish calendar; the beginning of the spring! And Vappu is the closest thing you'll find to Carnival in this part of the world.
Being originally celebrated as the international Labour Day, in Finland Vappu has evolved more into a massive one-week binge of students, and it reaches its peak on the Vappu Eve, the 30th April. Different kinds of traditions take place that week (e.g. Vappu pranks, sitz parties, sports, races, fresher students thrown into the freezing river/sea, Vappu magazines, etc.)
Starting already a week before, there will be pre-parties for Vappu along the week, until on the 30th April, which is the culmination of the crazy week and almost every student organisation in Turku has some kind of programme around the campus area.
30th of April
In the afternoon there will be a traditional Vappu event in front of the Educarium from 12.00 to 16.00 with live music, punch and smiley students. This is the high time to start partying if you haven't done that earlier that day! ESN Uni Turku invites you all to taste the delicious ESN Vappu Punch at the Educarium yard, first come, first served! And you’re all more than welcome to come celebrate Vappu with us under the ESN flag!
Very important part of Vappu is putting on the student caps from 17.30. to 18.00. at Taidemuseonmäki (Outside the Turku Art Museum, Aurakatu). The whole Turku will be there so don't miss it!
From the Art Museum, everyone heads down the Aurakatu to the river to gather around the statue of Lilja near the Aura bridge. Lilja then gets her student cap at around 19.00 with the help of the Student Unions. Before that, the students of dentistry clean her with their giant tooth brush, Sohon Torwet performs and the Student Unions of Turku greet the celebrating people. Later at night, you can continue with the celebration at different bars and parties around Turku.
1st of May
On the actual Vappu day itself, the 1st of May, thousands of people gather at the Vartiovuori hill (at the intersection of Uudenmaankatu and Hämeenkatu) for a massive picnic from 10:30 to 16:00 to cure their hangover and enjoy each other's company, hopefully the lovely weather, bands playing and so on. If you want to hang out with the best possible company on that day, find the ESN flag somewhere close to the stage. Just take a blanket, something to eat and drink and join in!
NB! The first of May is a bank holiday in Finland, plus grocery stores and Alkos will be closing a bit earlier on the 30th, so make sure you do your shopping well beforehand.
What to wear if I want to do it in a traditional Finnish way?
Usually Finns, especially students, wear their overalls and after 6 pm those white student caps. Other people can also dress up in a carnivalistic way, so if you don't have overalls or a Finnish upper secondary school diploma (which is required for being allowed to wear those caps) just get a silly wig, glasses, balloons, streamer, a glass full of mead (a tradional Finnish Vappu beverage) and a doughnut in your hand, and the most important, a big smile on your face and you'll be just about perfect!
Make sure you'll be there to find out why all the Finns go crazy over Vappu and are waiting for this date like children are waiting for Christmas. We want you all to be there and share the most spectacular day of the spring with us!