The most important date in the student´s calendar is the 30th of April. Why? Because they celebrate theirselves and have a great day. Students wear their overall and have a good time. Finnish students here in Jyväskylä already start a week before Vappu to party. They go into different bars and clubs and have a good time. They maybe even forget about their tasks for a moment.
ESN and JAMKO are organizing some events around Vappu and exchange students can feel it too. But what exactly is Vappu? In its origin students and workers used this day to fight for their values. Nowadays its a students fest where they sit together in the Kirkkopuisto and drink. And they are waiting until 18 o´clock until Minna Canth gets her Ylippilaslakki. Her WHAT?????? Her own student´s hat. It´s a white hat similar to the sailor´s hat and it shows that the student graduated from a Finnish high school. There they get the hat so it is quite hard to find one to buy. When you go to the stores in the city centre and ask the cashier their answer is: No we don´t have it and I don´t know where you can buy it.
But with a bit of good luck I found one. Where? In a second hand store from the red cross. And then you have one but how to behave? Just wear it? This feels a bit stupid because almost nobody wears it before 6. I was explained that they wait until 6 o´clock when the statue of Minna Canth gets hers and then everybody wears it. And indeed, at 6 o´clock you just see white hats in the park and so it didn´t felt stupid to wear the hat. But what to do before?
Students go to the Harju to meet and sit together, eat and drink something and go together to the Kirkkopuisto to celebrate Vappu. And then you easily can say who are the Finnish students and who are the exchange students. After 6 they start a programme, there are some speeches and people stand or sit together and talk and drink together.
during the day there are sales booths where you can buy food, funny stuff, clothes and bags. And at the Kompaasi there is somebody standing selling baloons. And not just kids have the baloons but the students as well.
But of course it is not everything about drinking the entire day. There is a city race and you can see students during the day following some tasks and running through the city to fulfill them. The winning team is honored after the race and is the one putting the hat on Minna Canths head. People are also coming from other cities to party together.
In front of the bars and clubs there are huge lines and people wait to enter them. Some wait for 2 hhours and more. So you pass a lot of people when going through the city and moving from one place to another. And even around 4 in the morning the city is full of students going their way. I never saw so many people in the city centre during my stay here than I saw on Vappu. It´s really a good feeling being part of it.
The first of may is something special, too. On the Harju you have a picknick and students are coming together. That´s the more trditional part of the Vappu. Finnish families usually sit together this day and eat together. So do Finnish students, too and spend the day together. And even the weather can be surprising these days. So we had snow on the 1st of may. Really a shocking fact when you´re not used to it ;-).
But in the end I can say this was really a wonderful day and something special, even though it reminded me on my last day in high school but I like to say: I´m coming back to party Vappu 😉 Hauskaa Vappua!!!!!
So read you in the next post