Thursday, April 30, 2015

Happy Mayday Holiday

April is that challenging time of year for anyone who wasn't brought up here as a child, when summer is starting to happen all over Europe, but Finland can't quite seem to make it happen. Not yet.

Still, I shouldn't complain. Not too much anyway. After grey skies and almost torrential rain all day yesterday, we were treated to sunshine and blue skies his morning. And this was good news, because pretty much the whole of Finland is covered in a sea of streamers and balloons at the moment as we await the arrival of one of the biggest holidays of the year, Mayday, or Vappu.

More than Mayday though, this national holiday is the start of a change of attitude over here in Finland. People gradually start believing that summer really is going to happen some time soon. And as though they are daring it to appear, they start swimming in lakes, even though the water temperature is still only around plus five degrees.

Children are gradually (although never early enough in my book) allowed to stop wearing mittens and hats and twenty layers of clothing and feel a taste of real air instead.

Whereas the trees have been green for some time in the more southern parts of Europe, here the buds are just beginning to appear, and wherever you go people are talking about it. Facebook postings frequently feature pictures of flowers in woods or gardens, in an attempt to encourage the whole country to hang on in there for just a few more weeks. The summer WILL come again.

And May is the last month of the academic year. The schools break up at the end of the month for the summer holidays. Finnish people may have weather challenges, but they are not stupid. Whatever summer there is over here, they will make the most of it. Holidays are long - both from school and from work. There will be enough time to catch up with everything during the long dark months of winter.

Here in Somero we met in the town square this evening and the male voice choir entertained us while the bull statue was decorated for the occasion.

Tonight, all over the country, people will be dressing up, partying, dancing, celebrating, going to the sauna, swimming in lakes, blowing up balloons, getting drunk and enjoying Vappu.

May is one of the nicest months of the year over here. There's lots of light, the trees turn green, the ice cream kiosks open, the sun (usually) comes out and the schools eventually shut down. The summer is not quite here yet, but as the Finns keep telling each other at every opportunity, it's not far away anymore. Happy Mayday celebrations, wherever you may be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Btw, there is approx. 60cm (24inches) snow in Lappland still, Most north part of Finland. :)