Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Vappu | May Day

Today in Finland the whole country is celebrating Vappu, or in English "May Day."  (It is also recognized as Labor Day, so all schools and most businesses are closed.)  Vappu is a celebration of spring.

It is also a celebratory day for students with many competitive student activities.  One of the most noticeable traditions of this holiday is the wearing of the white graduation caps.  Graduates of all ages (even 50 years old or older) of high schools, vocational schools, and universities wear their white graduation caps starting on May Day eve (April 30) and throughout the day on May 1.  In some cities, certain statues are even "capped" as a sort of tradition.

On May 1, friends and families gather together either in picnics or in restaurants to eat May Day delicacies like tippaleipä (fried dough fritters) and sima (homemade mead)

I first tried sima and munkki (that's what they call tippaleip√§ in Pori at least) while at an international student dinner about a week before Vappu.  You can see in my picture below that the munkki looked like donut holes but tasted so much better.  The sima--made from lemon juice, water, brown sugar, yeast and raisins--actually tasted better than I expected.  However, I could only drink one because it was just so sweet.  If you want to make some sima of your own, you can find a recipe here.

For more information on Vappu, visit

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