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Finland to celebrate May Day in mixed weather

The day before May Day, Monday, will be mostly sunny across much of the country, but there's a risk of showers on 1 May, when Finns traditionally break out picnic baskets to celebrate labour unions, the student movement -- and the arrival of spring.

Opiskelijat lakittavat Havis Amanda-patsaan Helsingissä.
File photo of students taking part in the annual tradition of placing a hat on the head of the Havis Amanda statue in downtown Helsinki on April 30, the day before the May Day holiday. Image: Yle

The Finnish holiday Vappu (May Day) is nearly here, and the Finnish Metrological Institute, FMI, says the weather will be a mixed bag.

On Monday, often referred to as May Day Eve, with the exception of central Finland, the day will likely feature mostly sunny conditions across most areas. There is a chance of showers in central parts of the country in the afternoon, according to FMI.

Daytime temperatures Monday will range between 11-15 degrees Celsius, and between 3-10 degrees up north in Lapland. FMI says that it will be cold at night, however, with temperatures possibly dipping below the freezing point even in the south.

Risk of a wet May Day

A precipitation system could possibly dampen festivities in southern Finland on Tuesday, May Day, however.

But forecasters also say there is a chance the rain may remain hovering over the Baltic states, giving hope to thousands of people in Finland that the holiday will offer dry and sunny conditions to head out for picnics and other activities.

May Day revelries are the closest that Finland gets to a Carnival, so the event is eagerly anticipated. In addition labour unions gathering to commemorating the gains earned by the movement, political parties also assemble and deliver speeches to their followers.

1 May is also the official holiday of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki, so students past and present dust off the and don the white caps that symbolise their graduation from upper secondary school.

In Helsinki, merrymaking students also crown the Havis Amanda statue in downtown Helsinki with a graduation cap, an event that has become increasingly rowdy over the years. Similar capping ceremonies take place in cities across the country.

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