May Day Celebrations

40+ casual style

Hauskaa Vappua!

That means Happy May Day. Vappu (the Vappu Eve on 30 April and May Day) is one of the biggest holidays in Finland, sort of a big street party or a carnival.

Now, when I say carnival, or a street party, you’re probably thinking about some sort of processions or dancing and food stands etc.

Well, there are food stands (hot dogs, burgers etc. mainly). Alcohol is both very expensive and controlled in Finland (= only available in licensed shops or in restaurants),  but this has never prevented people from getting hammered, pissed, drunk as a skunk somewhat intoxicated… Things can get a bit wild, and there’s always someone who thinks it’s a great idea to take a dip in a fountain / the sea / anything with some water in it (with or without their clothes on) or something similar…

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Anyway, these pictures were taken on 30 April, and my fearless (possibly somewhat culture-shocked) photographer / husband and I ventured right where the action is…

Vappu is particularly important for university students, and various student associations go out in more or less organised groups, for a night of drinking partying al fresco.

And here we see some students all dressed up in their festive gear:


Err, festive? Have I gone bonkers? Isn’t that what you’re thinking?

Yes, overalls. They come in many colours (and sport the insignia of their the university / department / field of study as well as sponsors’ logos), and given the nature of this ‘carnival’ / street party, this is the best possible outfit for the occasion.

Given the balmy temperature (+11 ºC / 52 ºF ) and all the drinking they have to do (outdoors), it’s probably easier to crawl back home in the early hours wearing something like this…

So, do Finnish festivals always involve excessive drinking, is that what you’re asking now? The short answer: yes. My advice: if a Finn asks you have a drink with him / her, say no. For heaven’s sake, just say no! You can hold your liquor? Sure you can, I believe you. You probably also have a cut off point, and stop drinking after a few drinks, right? You certainly stop drinking when the bar closes, don’t you? Well, Finns stop drinking when they either pass out or are hauled away by the police…

Anyway, back to Vappu

This is what kicks off the festivities: the capping of Havis Amanda (that would be the statue of a woman you see in these pictures).


Let me explain…

On Vappu it is a custom to wear the white cap we usually wear for graduation (similar to A-levels, or high school graduation).

  My white cap is a bit tight. Maybe my head has got bigger… 

Universities take turns being the master of ceremonies on Vappu (this year it was University of the Arts doing the honours). And what exactly do they do? Well, to put it simply: a group of students are hoisted up in the air on a crane so that they can place a white cap on the statue. And then everybody puts on their white cap. And that’s it.

Seriously, that’s it. After that it’s just celebrating (read: public drinking), walking around, seeing friends etc. There might be bands performing here and there. The point is, it’s pretty much a bring-your-own bubbly kind of party, and make sure you have enough of it to last the whole evening.

Seasalt Cornwall rain coat

Outfit details:

coat: Seasalt Cornwall / scarf: Marimekko (old) / jeans: Next / bag: Coach (old) / 

Breton top: Jigsaw / shoes: Nike / sunglasses: Chanel
location: Esplanadi (Helsinki)

 The Day  After…

And then, the following day (1 May), those who are not too hungover and / or wake up early enough (or never went to bed) go to one of the big parks in the city for a picnic (with some bubbly, of course). This is what the park looked like on 1 May in the afternoon:

And those of us who find early mornings / crowded places not their cup of tea, well, they go and have a festive May Day lunch in a nice restaurant. But that’s another story, for another time. Stay tuned for part 2 of May Day celebrations…

Did you celebrate May day?



Linking up with:

Not Dead Yet StyleElegantly Dressed and StylishGaray TreasuresHigh Latitude StyleSydney Fashion HunterThe Pleated PoppyStyle ElixirGet Your Pretty OnHappiness at Mid-LifeA Labour of LifeDoused in PinkCurly Crafty MomFashion Should Be FunRachel the HatSincerely Jenna MarieMore Pieces of MeColor and GraceThe Wardrobe StylistNot Dressed As LambStyle NudgeCoco et La Vie en RoseFashionably Employed,The Fabulous JourneyLiving on Cloud NineA Well Styled LifeElegance and MommyhoodPosh Classy MomNancy’s Fashion Style, Sheela Writes


  1. Suzanne Carillo
    4 May 2016 / 3:00 pm

    Ha ha! Your description of partying Fins reminded me of partying Danish and Norwegians. They all liked to get totally drunk and always brought their own booze. Must be a Scandinavian thing.We don't celebrate May Day in Canada. Such a shame since that capping thing seems extra exciting. ; )bisousSuzanne

    • Tiina L
      5 May 2016 / 8:17 am

      Oh yes, it's a Scandinavian thing, for sure… Nordic countries have similar alcohol policies (state monopoly, high prices), so I suppose that explains it. At least to some extent.

  2. Shybiker
    4 May 2016 / 8:47 pm

    Hauskaa Vappua! What a beautiful coat and scarf. You look terrific. Thanks for the cultural lesson.

    • Tiina L
      5 May 2016 / 8:18 am

      You're welcome. This was the first May Day I spent in Finland for years, so I had to document it.

  3. Nancy's Fashion Style
    5 May 2016 / 6:59 am

    Haha, then I wasn t born to be living in Finland! The picnic looks very nice! You had great weather then it looking forward to part2!

    • Tiina L
      5 May 2016 / 8:19 am

      Yes, it can get a bit wild, especially if the weather is good…

  4. No Fear of Fashion
    5 May 2016 / 11:07 am

    Your celebration reminds me of celebrating Kings Day in The Netherlands. I saw the student overalls in a Netflix series Lilyhammer. Glad you explained this.Your scarf looks terrific and I really like your coat too.Have I mentioned the cute bag? No I haven't. Which is an omission.Greetje

    • Tiina L
      6 May 2016 / 9:04 am

      Well, we all need wild parties evey now and then…

    5 May 2016 / 7:04 pm

    I would so love to visit Finland, and your outfit is darling!! I love your scarf!ValerieFashion and travel

    • Tiina L
      6 May 2016 / 9:05 am

      Summer is the best time to visit, as it's warm and there's plenty of sunlight (almost round the clock). Winter can be a bit dismal: cold and dark.

  6. nancy baten
    6 May 2016 / 8:29 pm

    Thank you so much for linking up! 🙂

  7. Sheela Goh
    6 May 2016 / 11:43 pm

    Sadly, May Day doesn't quite occur here in the States so I'm most certainly living vicariously through your photos, Tiina 🙂 and incidentally, that red coat with the print scarf? Divine.Speaking of loveliness, my weekly Friday link-up is live and on the blog now, Tiina, and I would love for you to come and share this gorgeous vision xoxo

    • Tiina L
      7 May 2016 / 8:40 am

      Thanks, Sheela. And thank you for the invitation!

  8. Alice Warren
    11 May 2016 / 3:12 am

    Looks like a lot of fun and I love your pretty outfit. Thank you for being a part of TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you soon!

    • Tiina L
      11 May 2016 / 10:35 am

      Thanks, Alice!

  9. Shellie Bowdoin
    11 May 2016 / 7:18 am

    It was interesting to hear a little about your cultural celebration. The colors are great in your outfit! Thanks for sharing your style flair with My Refined Style!

    • Tiina L
      11 May 2016 / 10:35 am

      Thanks, Shellie!

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