post

Vappu: Celebrating May Day Finnish style

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!

Party preparations: the Filipino, Finish and German flag for decoration
Party preparations: the Filipino, Finish and German flag for decoration
Introducing Finnish food to our Filipino family by preparing the potatoes Finish style: wash them, leave the skin, boil with salt and enjoy them hot with melted butter
Introducing Finnish food to our Filipino family by preparing the potatoes Finish style: wash them, leave the skin, boil with salt and enjoy them hot with melted butter
There are so many banana plants in our backyard. We used their leaves as serving platters”.
There are so many banana plants in our backyard. We used their leaves as serving platters.
Mixing Filipino and Finnish food culture on the barbecue: chicken, pork belly and sausages. For the marinate we used banana stalk.
Mixing Filipino and Finnish food culture on the barbecue: chicken, pork belly, and sausages. For the marinate we used banana stalk.
The meat placed on the freshly cut banana leaves.
The meat placed on the freshly cut banana leaves.
The party can start. Everything is ready. And of course in the Philippines there is no meal without rice.
The party can start. Everything is ready. And of course in the Philippines there is no meal without rice.
There is no Vappu without sparkling wine. Tastes delicious even out of plastic cups.
There is no Vappu without sparkling wine. Tastes delicious even out of plastic cups.
My family here in the Philippines. “Hauskaa Vappua!” = Happy May Day!
My family here in the Philippines. “Hauskaa Vappua!” = Happy May Day!