The biggest Finnish festival for students was just a few days ago – Vappu! In order to be able to experience this with all my senses as an exchange student, I and my tutor Suvi took part in various tasks of their student association around the May Festival. This enabled me to get to know some traditions, Finnish terminology and activities related to Vappu. On the one hand, we traditionally prepared the yeast drink Sima, bought the traditional meal for May Day – sausages with potato salad, of course also drank Sima and successfully carried out some activities and tasks together. In order to understand the activities of the pirate.ru student association, I had to translate the explanations from Finnish to English or German every day in order to know which challenges there were to be overcome. This was good practice in identifying the words you already knew and learning new vocabulary We carried out the following activities:
- Drink a glass of sima at Plevna
- Take a photo infront of the Restaurant “Zarillon”
- Take a photo with the 50 years old Näsneula
- The sewing of our patches on the overall
- Wash the student overalls in public water for the upcoming celebrations
- Eat a munkki without licking your lips
- A selfie with a May Day balloon
- Do your own Spring Challenge – spring cleaning in a creative way was the order of the day
- ….and so on
I had great fun doing these Finnish activities in connection with tradition, the language, games and fun and was able to add a few words to my Finnish vocabulary.
Hyvää vappua! Yep, we Finns actually say happy May Day to each other: to people we know as well as complete strangers. There is something about vappu that makes us Finns go crazy and act all social. That something might be alcohol or the warming spring weather.
I met Michelle and some of her friends by the Tammerkoski and we spent there a couple of hours watching Technical University freshmen dipping into the cold rapid. There was a host interviewing the freshmen about how they felt before getting into the water and how the water was. Some freshmen even bursted into signing their guild songs.
I had brought with me some home-made sima. Sima is a non-alcoholic, brewed drink made of sugar, lemon and water. Sadly, it was not loved by the audience for they said it was too sweet. Well, more for me 😉
I wanted to show Jisoo the most common way to celebrate vappu in Tampere. So I invited her to Koskenranta to have picnic and chill with friends!
In Laikunlava, there was this event Wappufest, where artist Karri Koira had his concert. We were dancing and singing all the time and when he ended his show, we had his signatures and took some pictures together! 🙂
After Wappufest, we went to terrace and talked for a while before Jisoo went to homeparty. She was planning her trip to Russia, and I was really surprised that Korean people don’t need visa there, even thought we need for sure.. 😀
We went to O’Conells Pub to watch the comedy show “True Finns” which has nothing to do with the same- called party. It was very entertaining to hear about some Finnish stereotypes. The American host and his Finnish counterpart are very entertaining. Finnish surnames often have a meaning like “Island hill” or “God of the forest”. It also seems like there is a god for Sauna in Finland!? Also I learnt some more about the upcoming event of Vappu. I also attended the traditional baptising of the Finnish students which was very entertaining to watch for some time.
I met Anne (my partner) and three of her Finnish friends in a pub. Than we decided to have diner in a kebab restaurant not far from the train station. We talked about the Vappu event that was going on that moment. It is big celebration on the first of May in Finland and Sweden. People have parties and lots of alcohol is consumed on that day. Everybody is on the street and there are a lot of activities. The people who already have graduated, wear these sailor white hats that they received when they finished school.
We talked about Scandinavian countries and Nordic humour. Anne introduced me to ‘Scandinavia and The World’. These are cartoons about stereotypes of all countries, but the Nordic countries are the main characters.
Everybody in Tampere must have noticed this giant black building in the city centre next to the train station. It is huge compared to the other buildings in the city. It is called Solo Sokos Hotel Torni Tampere. After our dinner we went to top of the black building and we had a great view on Tampere.