Curiosities of Finnish people & culture

I’m studying in Turku since now four months and we finally reach May and Finnish «spring». I could write an article about the weather of course because it’s completely crazy how we can go from snow to nice 15 degrees day. But I would like to tell about what I felt this week-end about Vappu.
Lucie1Since one and a half week I heard about « Vappu days », « Vappu celebration » or even «Pre-Vappu » and I didn’t understand it at all before my Finnish friend told me that it’s about the Labor day. So here starts what I could call a « curiosity ». I’m from France and apart from the day off on the 1st of May we don’t celebrate the labor day. So I was really curious that we could have events for more than one week to celebrate this day. But as I’m here to learn more about Finns and Finnish culture I took part for two days in this celebrations.
The first thing I did was on Saturday, I went with my friends at Educarium to enjoy the
atmosphere and the « pre-vappu » speech. It was really nice to see all those students with
overalls, it’s also something I could call « curiosity » because I never saw such a thing
before but I really like the idea and the fact that every students wear it. Then we all walked to the art museum hill and listent to the speech. Of course with my basics Finnish skills I didn’t understand the speech but I was here to witness this tradition. I was amazed that
everyone was gathered, it was mostly adults but also a lot of students and even children.
Everyone was wearing the white cap and was happy to be here. I never saw that much people in one same place, I was even wondering where all this people come from. I mean
Finland is a big country but quite empty, there are less people than in Paris ! 🙂 I also really loved the fact that everyone was wearing the cap, in France we wouldn’t have this kind of tradition because for french, rules are made to be broken.
Then we kept doing tradition and we spent Lucie2some time near by the river enjoying the sun. I never thought that I could have a sunburn in Finland but yea … I got one!
Finally on Sunday we went for a picnic in the other hill, I can’t say the name which is way too long for me to remember.
I think this week-end showed the Finnish culture of course but also the spirit and the friendly and warm atmosphere. It’s something I would definitely recommend to take parti in for every foreign student or visitors from abroad.

Text & photos: Lucie Valentini

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