What is (virtual) Vappu?

Vappu is normally one of the biggest events of the year in Finland. Due to the current coronavirus situation and the restrictions on gatherings, Vappu is very special this year.

Like in many countries, May 1 is Labor Day in Finland. However, the Finnish May Day, Vappu, is also celebrated as a spring carnival that marks the end of winter. For a foreign employee who has recently moved to Finland, it’s good to know the basics about the Finnish May Day, as it’s (normally) a very visible event and an important part of the Finnish culture.

Vappu is important especially for university students, who celebrate it for weeks, but on April 30 and May 1 practically everyone in Finland celebrates in some way. Typically the celebrations include big student events and picnics in parks. Traditional Vappu delicacies are munkki (a type of doughnut), tippaleipä (funnel cake) and sima (Finnish mead).

This year Vappu is different. Because of the coronavirus, all public events and gatherings with more than 10 attendees, whether indoors or outdoors, are prohibited, and spending unnecessary time in public places should be avoided. However, Vappu isn’t cancelled: people are encouraged to celebrate Vappu at home.

The Ministry of the Interior and the police have launched the #virtuaalivappu campaign, which encourages people to deviate from traditions and celebrate Vappu on the web, in line with the restrictions on gatherings. You can see the online Vappu events and tips here.


More information:

Foreigner.fi article about Finnish Vappu traditions (2019)

Finland.fi: Finnish Vappu in pictures

Minister of the Interior: This year, we will celebrate vappu at home

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