In my country, the 30th of April is not a particularly special day anymore since Queen’s day changed into King’s day and changed dates. In Finland, they go all out. Vappu, or Walpurgis night, is a big celebration in the streets and parks where people dress up and party. Students wear team clothing in bright colors, wear wigs and crazy hats, and the streets are decorated with confetti. During my exchange in Jyväskylä I was lucky enough to be there for it.
Drinking in the streets is no problem at this time of year. Although the party will continue in the bars later, it is first and foremost a party in the streets. When I arrive in the center of the student town Jyväskylä, lots of students are gathered around the church. Spring drawings are being painted on faces and people walk around with colorful flags. I feel like I am about one bottle of vodka behind on all the other partygoers.
Together with some friends I am invited to party at someone’s house. The drinking continues until about 10.30PM, when we decide to have another look in the town center. Still people are gathered around the church and the main street is packed. There are stalls where you can buy crazy glasses, garlands or snacks.
I run into some other friends and join them to Poppari, where a funkband plays covers. We dance. We laugh. We drink. Vappu goes on all night. At 2AM I decide to take the bus home. Vappu will continue the next day anyway.
The 1st of May is the day of the picnic, but unfortunately it is raining. Later that afternoon, when the rain had stopped and most people had slept off their hangovers, we headed to the hill for a picnic. The main ingredient for a student picnic seemed to be beer. In contrast, the center of town was crowded with families. Here, you could enjoy some sun, buy balloons and food, or enjoy some simple entertainment.
I finished my Vappu with a barbecue with friends and a night of clubbing in a bar with toilets on the ceiling. We partied until the sun came up, which in Finland is quite normal in the middle of the night. Back in bed at 4AM, it was light and bright outside. Happy Vappu. Summer’s coming.