May Eve and Day


This April 30th I’m once again reminded by Helsingin Sanomat that today and tomorrow are Vappu or May Eve and May Day, “one of Finland’s most boisterous (and liquid) annual festivals”. May Day in Finland is a national holiday, a kind of Finnish “Mardi Gras meets the Rite of Spring”, with some historical political overtones and a strong youth and student flavouring. And here’s this droll offering: For those who do not know what this is all about and have not read this article at least six times already (3.5.2000).

Having written about this popular Scandinavian holiday, with its variants elsewhere, for the past three years, I’ve run out of anything new to say, a symptom peculiar to bloggers of a certain vintage, it seems. Anyway, my post of last year may interest newer readers with its links, including to some traditional Vappu treats. I’m struck by the photos of lilacs and lily of the valley from my garden last year. This year’s colder winter and spring means they are only just in bud. Not to complain, it sometimes snows on May Day in Finland!

To all my dear readers, I heartily wish a Happy May Day, Hauskaa Vappua, Happy Walpurgisnacht, Bonne FĂȘte du Muguet! Pick a few newly greened birch branches as an offering to Spring.

April 30, 2007 in Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Folk Legends & Myths by Marja-Leena