Iiro Nurminen 1960, Helsingin Kaupunginmuseo

Vappu.  Valborg. Vappen. The most likely biggest of the Finnish festivities!  Party-wise, I guess. If the city empties at Midsummer Vappu is the opposite - the city is full of thousands and thousands of celebrating people. We've had mead and funnel cakes and donuts for a the past days and I'm getting rather stuffed by now.

Vappen is a festivity for quirky hats and faux noses and costumes and serpentines and confetti (and just making a mess our of everything in general). Kindergartens and schools most often have a masquerade they day before Vappu. Last year Dag was a ninja, this year he went as his latest obsession: a knight!

Costumes that I wore when I was little included princess (quelle surprise), medieval lady and cowgirl.

I've spent most of my Vappu-day, as in the day after; 1st of May, out on town celebrating since early morning, and even those years I was on shift in the harbour I tried to sneak in a visit to to the park before work. Lots of fun memories ever since my early childhood years. The tradition of Valborg, which itself goes way back in time has been celebrated in today's form, with partying on the streets, balloons and picnics and such, since the 1800's. On first of May labour's day and marches meet academic festivities and a sea of white graduation caps.

First of may on the Observatory Hill of Kaivopuisto.
Arvo Kajante 1959. Helsingin kaupunginmuseo.

 Kari Hakli 1972. Helsingin kaupunginmuseo.

Picnic in Kaisaniemi.
Ivan Timiriasew 1920. Helsingin kaupunginmuseo.

 Ivan Timiriasew 1912. Helsingin kaupunginmuseo.

Student gathering in Kaisaniemi.
Unknown photographer, 1870. Helsingin kaupunginmuseo. 

Communist march. Simo Rista SER 1970. Helsingin kaupunginmuseo.

Labourers' march. Unknown photographer, 1919. Helsingin kaupunginmuseo. 

 Juha Jernvall 1950, Helsingin kaupunginmuseo.

Above are photos from celebrations in Helsinki from past days; the Helsinki City museum has released a site where you can browse and download their collection of 40,000 photographies of Helsinki from then and now, with a free-to-use-if credited license. A lot of interesting and nostalgic pics! So I checked out Vappu-celebrations from past times; turns out they had as shitty weather as we do back in 1899 as well for example. And 1957 and 1929. Phew.

Drawing by A.Federley of their first of May in 1899. Helsingin kaupunginmuseo.

But when you've blogged for a decade (!!) you get quite the archive of your own life during those years as well.
This year, as I was working in the day and as Eddi is away on work in Shiraz I am just staying at home in bed with a glass of, in fact, Shiraz as well (going for that old traditional, but with newly found internet fame, mode of kalsarik�nnit. Well not really, but close enough. Not drunk but no pants.) I browsed some of my own Vappus from the last years -

2010 we were out with Eddi and some friends on town. (And it was cold. Not like now, but I was freezing in my dress.Weather is such a factor here.). Just remembered that the Vappu before we had been on a day-date after having been on a break and I biked to work in the sunshine wondering weather it would turn into something or not.

2011 we got engaged in the pale May night on our way home after a long odyssey of park picnics and suburbian bars. It was warm and I wore a 50's dress and my big pink petticoat that I managed to spill beer on and Eddi picked me a yellow dandelion and gave me a ring. (We had actually booked our wedding in Vegas by then already but it was still a sweet move.)

2012 I was super pregnant amd we went to a Vappu brunch after the park.

2013 Eddi was in Bolivia and I was home on the countryside with Dag minding my flowers and drinking beer. Kind of like now, heh.
And I got carried away at my son's first chance for a Vappu balloon and got him two. Dag has a dinosaur balloon this year as well btw (< THE INTERNET HAS TO KNOW!)

But I also brought Dag to his first First of May park experience then!
I remember he started screaming so hard in the bus (that was packed) on our way downtown I had to get off and wait for another one. Not very surprisingly we went for brunch after the park.
(Most restaurants organise late brunches on May 1st. )

Last year we stayed out on the countryside and had some friends over for bbq and fixed up my old car. And yes it was so much warmer than now. And no, that's not a real butt.

Glada Vappen!

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