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Suomalainen Vappu: Kevään juhlan perinteet ja herkut

Finnish May Day: traditions and delicacies of the spring festival

Vappu is one of Finland's most popular festivals, symbolising the beginning of spring and bringing together families and friends alike to celebrate. In this article, we dive deep into the traditions of May day, also called Labor day, offer the best tips for organizing a May Day party and present the most delicious May day dishes that will make your celebration unforgettable.

The historical background of May day in Finland

May day, or the first of May, has its roots in the old rites of spring and over the years has evolved into a celebration for workers and students. In Finland, the celebration of Vappu combines joyful togetherness, a celebration of the arrival of spring and a hopeful look to the future. May day is therefore a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and delicious seasonal foods.

Holidays in different parts of Finland

Although celebrated throughout Finland, May day has regional variations. In Helsinki, it traditionally includes a big parade and a picnic in Kaivopuisto Park, while in Turku it is strongly associated with riverbank celebrations. However, what they do have in common is the consumption of sima, doughnuts and funnel cakes, which are part of the May Day table in both the north and the south.

Best tips for a successful May day celebration

When organising an Easter party, it's a good idea to create a relaxed and cheerful atmosphere. Decorate the space with spring colours and serve plenty of traditional Easter treats.

Making your own Easter treats will add a unique touch to the party, but you can also find all the traditional Easter treats in the shops. One of the most famous dishes of May day is the doughnut, a round, deep-fried sweet pastry. They can be sugared or filled with jam and are irresistibly delicious, especially when fresh and warm.

Another treat that is inseparable from May day is the funnel cake, a network of dough covered with sugar. They have a light and airy texture and require skill to make.

Sima, or mead, is an essential part of the May day table. This traditional homemade drink is a mild, slightly alcoholic bubbly treat made from water, lemon, raisins and sugar. It is slightly reminiscent of lemonade and is usually served cold.

Salads, especially potato salad, are also popular. Potato salad in Finland typically includes boiled potatoes, onion, pickled cucumber and often a cream or mayonnaise-based dressing. It is a fresh addition to the May day menu, balancing the richness of sweet pastries.

May day also includes a barbecue, as many people head out to enjoy the spring weather. Grilled sausages, meats and vegetarian skewers are common dishes, often served with fresh salads and sandwiches. Here is our selection for May day. 

May day with children

May day is a particularly wonderful time for children. Organise activities such as face painting, balloon blowing and bubble blowing on May day. Children also enjoy breaking piñatas, a fun way to spend time together.