May Day / Vappu

When: April 30 and May 1

What: Arguably the biggest party of the year, May Day has traditionally been a celebration of spring, and an important holiday for workers and students. Colorful balloons and paper streamers decorate the view as the carnival-style festivities take over the streets in all major cities, starting in the afternoon on April 30 and continuing all day on May 1. People of all ages get to dust off their white student caps, but traditional May Day attire may also include colorful wigs, funny hats, or other party accessories.

To celebrate Vappu, people throw picnics and parties with friends and family, political parties organize gatherings, and concert bands entertain people in different events. Food always plays an important part in Finnish holiday traditions, and on May Day Finns enjoy treats like doughnuts (munkki), funnel cakes (tippaleipä), and mead (sima). Students all over the country follow their own specific May Day traditions. In Helsinki, for example, Vappu celebrations officially start when students gather at the Market Square to wash the statue of Havis Amanda and place a student cap on her head.

Ask your friends and colleagues about local May Day traditions, or visit your local tourism office or their website for more information. Student Unions will inform you about May Day activities on their websites.

Opening hours and public transport:

April 30: Public service offices, banks, post offices, and Alko liquor stores will close early. Most shops will also close early. Public transport will operate normally and additional services may be provided later in the evening.

May 1: Public service offices, banks, post offices, and Alko liquor stores will be closed. Some grocery stores and other shops may be closed and some may have shorter opening hours. Public transport will mostly operate on a Sunday schedule.

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