Monday, 30 April 2007

Vappu balloons

The weather is awful. Even though the sun is shining from an almost clear blue sky the wind is blowing from north and it is cold and many households were cut off from their electricity suppliers due to falling trees in the countryside.

Well, guess this is not going to prevent the Finns from celebrating the arrival of spring with Vappu.

This is the day spring begins according to the Finns and that is literally according to the almanac and no concern to the weather. I can remember one Vappu’s Eve when it was freezing cold and snowing and the people in town were still dressed in their summer clothes for the first time of the year.

Anyway, today the student’s, both the graduating ones and the ones who graduated log ago celebrate their achievements. Customary champagne breakfast pick-nicks take place and the traditional white hat of graduates is worn.

Vappu is also celebrated among the whole population with the customary drink Sima, or mead and doughnuts and Tippaleipä, “Drop-bread” (you can read about it in the Socialguide in the food section if you are interested). Homes are decorated with serpentines and garlands and almost everyone buys them selves a Vappu-balloon. Well, it is compulsory to buy a balloon for the kids at least or to your cat like we have to now with the off-spring not wanting balloons any longer. It is kind of funny, this tradition Vappu we now have with the balloon for our cat.

He is ever so happy when the balloon arrives and he hangs on the rope at all times, playing with it happily hopping around after the rope when it bounces up to the ceiling pulling it down again. He even sleeps holding the balloon a couple of inches from the ceiling and he is ever so sad when the balloon begins to sag and no longer bounces up to the ceiling. It is thrilling to see how long this years’ balloon will hold, the record has so far been a couple days short of a month.

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