First of May traditions in Finland


The origins of Vappu can be traced back to ancient pagan rituals that celebrated the arrival of spring. These rituals were eventually Christianized and incorporated into the church calendar as the Feast of St. Walburgis, who was a Christian saint.


The first of May became an important day for labor unions and socialist political parties. Labor organizations started celebrating May Day regularly in Finland in 1902.


1. Student traditions: Vappu is an important time for students in Finland, who often organize special events and parties to mark the occasion.

2. Wearing a white cap and student overalls:  Many people wear their student hat during the celebrations.

3. Havis Amanda statue gets a cap.  In Helsinki, the students make Havis Amanda (Manta) "go wild". This happens at May Day eve.

4. Drinking: This party is another excuse for Finns to drink alcohol.

5. Helium balls. You can see Helium ball vendors all round city at the time for Vappu. This is especially a must for kids to have a cartoon-shaped helium ball.

6. Serpentine. This colorful band, called serpentiini in Finnish, is a decoration product specially used at Vappu.

7. Picnic. Many people gather in parks and other outdoor spaces to grill sausages, drink sparkling wine or sima (a Finnish mead), and socialize with friends and family. This is especially the tradition for the May day.

7. Parades. "Vappumarssit" in Finnish, are colorful and lively parades that take place in many cities and towns throughout Finland on May day. Typically organized by student organizations, labor unions, and other groups.


SIMA: Is a sweet, sparkling beverage made from water, sugar, yeast, and lemon.


MUNKKI: Finnish doughnut that is commonly eaten during Vappu. It is a deep-fried doughnut that is coated in sugar


TIPPALEIPÄ: May Day Funnel Cakes, is a type of fried pastry. The dough is piped through a funnel (or plastic bag) into hot oil and fried until golden brown. It is decorated with powdered sugar.


POTATO SALAD: A quite common thing to have along for picnic.

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