The end of April marks a very special time on the Finnish calendar; the beginning of the spring! And Vappu is the closest thing you'll find to Carnival in this part of the world.
Being originally celebrated as the international Labour Day, in Finland Vappu has evolved more into a massive one-week binge of students, and it reaches its peak on the Vappu Eve, the 30th April. Different kind of traditions take place that week (e.g. Vappu pranks, sitsit parties, sports, races, fresher students thrown into the freezing river/sea, Vappu magazines, etc.)
Starting already weeks before, there will be pre-parties for Vappu along the month, until on the 30th April, which is the culmination of the crazy week and almost every student organisation in Oulu has some kind of programme around the campus areas.
On the actual Vappu day itself, the 1st of May, thousands of people gather for a massive picnic from 10:30 to 16:00 to cure their hangover and enjoy each other's company, hopefully the lovely weather, bands playing and so on. If you wanna hang out with the best possible company on that day, find the ESN flag somewhere close to the stage. Just take a blanket, something to eat and drink and join in!
NB! The first of May is a bank holiday in Finland, plus grocery stores and Alkos will be closing a bit earlier on the 30th, so make sure you'll do your shoppings well beforehand.
Usually Finns, especially students, wear their overalls and those white student caps. Other people can also dress up in a carnivalistic way, so if you don't have overalls or a Finnish upper secondary school diploma (which is required for being allowed to wear those caps) just get a silly wig, glasses, balloons, streamer, a glass full of mead (SIMA=a traditional Finnish Vappu beverage) and a doughnut in your hand, and the most important, a big smile on your face and you'll be just about perfect!
Make sure you'll be there to find out why all the Finns go crazy over Vappu and are waiting for this date like children are waiting for Christmas... We want you all to be there and share the most spectacular day of the spring with us!