The Finns celebrate May Day differently. Instead of demonstrations in the streets, the Finns go to the parks and have outdoor picnics. The reason it is different is because it is more a celebration to mark the start of summer and “warmth” rather than labor related stuff. They call it Vappu. It is a tradition to celebrate Vappu with sparkling wines and balloons. In Helsinki, where we’re from, the park of choice is at Kaivopuisto.
For the last couple of years, it is in that park that we get together with our Filipino friends and their family and have picnics; just generally enjoying the ambience and each other’s company. Unfortunately, this year we weren’t able to be a part of that yearly picnic with them.
On a personal level, Arthur and I have celebrated Vappu together for the last 7 years in a row now. We have no intentions of breaking that tradition whatsoever, even if we’re here in the Philippines or anywhere else in the world.
That’s why on May 1st we decided to celebrate Vappu with our family here in the Philippines. We also reckoned it’s a good idea to show them some Nordic traditions. The only problem, though, is that May is the month where the summer is at its peak. It is almost impossible to have outdoor picnic in this heat and humidity. It doesn’t help that flies also abound. You can’t leave your food for even a second before flies feast on them way earlier than you do. Our only solution was to move the outdoor picnic into an indoor party.
At the end of the day, it was a nice and fun celebration. I also got to tell and show our photos of Vappu in Finland to the family. After stuffing our bellies with the delicious grilled food, the evening ended in a typical Filipino fashion: karaoke.
It’s nice, as well as important for us, to maintain ties with Finland into our lives by observing and celebrating important Finnish holidays here at the other side of the world. Hauskaa Vappua!