Next Tuesday, the 1st of May, in Finland it is not only celebrated the International Worker’s Day but is a celebration that finds its origin back in the remote past, and with the time it has become a sort of mixture of feasts.
So, let’s start with the first that is the PAGAN SPRING FEAST. The May Day represents the mid-period between the two solstices and marks the victory of the spring over winter and the sunlight over the darkness. Now to add a personal note, I have to say that spring, although spring has yet to come, we can definitely consider the end of the winter, as we can say that there is no more snow on the ground and the temperatures keep over zero.times, the spring fest was called hela, and it marked the time when the cattle could be brought to the pasture for the first time after the long winter.
The second one is the St. Walburga’s day. This is a feast that was started after the Christianization of Finland. Walburga was the daughter of a Saxon king, and she served as an abbess in a convent in Germany. In Finland, the May Day is called Vappu, (in Swedish Valborg) which is a name derived from the saint.
It is also a STUDENT FEAST because this is the day chosen by Student’s Union of the University of Helsinki to celebrate the ending of the student’s year.
During the 30th of April and the 1st of May, the streets of the whole country are filled with all sort of colorful happenings, but as you can imagine, the main cities are those where you can expect most of the celebrations.
Helsinki transforms itself in a sort of Rio Carnival (without the dancing girls and the risks for your own life) for one day, and people gather outside to enjoy the sun (if it decides to show up)
The most common thing to do is having a picnic on the main parks, whether it is the one in Kaisaniemi, on the Esplanadi or the largest one in Kaivopuisto, there isn’t a place that cannot be suitable for gathering and having fun.
…The Finnish way!!
However, the real celebration for the Hela is set for the following week, exactly the 11th of May, and it is called Helatorstai (which is a good chance to have a long weekend from work by taking Friday free.
As a bottom note, I have an announcement, and perhaps you have also noticed by yourself. If not, The “Book” section contains now the link to my new author website. There, my writing’s life is taking over my wandering life, and I have all the flexibility I need to showcase all my books, explain a bit of myself, telling a couple of fun facts about my complicated life as a geologist, writer, wanderer, amateur photographer and whatever else.
On the left side of this blog, I have also added the link where you can find all my books in the same place, which is my author page on Amazon. Moreover, I have also added the link to give you all the chance to get to know my writing (in case you aren’t yet familiar with) and I have set for free a copy of my first novel “A Tale of a Rough Diamond.”
I wish you all a great weekend as for many people around the world it will be a longer one!