Being a complete noob about Finnish holidays, Vappu and its connotations are completely new to me. When I first heard of it, all I could think was, “YES more holidays and non-work than ever before!” But there’s even more to the story than that.
Imagine every stereotype about Finnish drinking you’ve ever heard, times that by hopefully, but in this case finally, getting some spring weather after a long, hard, cold winter, picnics and bbqing in the biggest public park in Helsinki, and you’ve got Vappu. It’s an all-day drinking and eating affair in a park, apparently in the honor and memory of worker’s rights or some such thing. There is a special designated park for the occasion (Kaivopuisto), and my parents actually hesitated going to Tallinn on the same dates because the guide book I gave them states that it “isn’t something to miss.” But alas they went to Estonia and I was free to par-tay with new friends in the forever sunshine of Finland summertime (it’s something like 18 hours of sunlight already). (My parents actually get the Estonian version of Vappu also – apparently Tallinn has its own celebrations, so they will not be missing out on anything).
So, in preparation of such, I went to the grocery store and got me some food and drink for the day – things to be nommed and sipped. Here was my planned bounty:
- Homemade black bean corn salsa with chips. I have once again failed to take pictures so as consolation prize I can provide the recipe for anyone who is interested in that.
- Delicious-looking sandwich with fillings.
- Potato salad that was on sale…I couldn’t resist.
- Easy-to-transport booze. Ciders and two bottles of semi-seco cava. My parents and I have been trying various flavors from this cider brand and they’re quite delightful. One thing I’m still getting used to is saving the cans (completely whole) so you can turn them in at these machines in the grocery store. You get your full deposit back as credit for shopping. What a novel idea. :)
And with a beach towel, I shoved all these things into a backpack, and was set for Vappu (festivities described in a later post).