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May Day holiday brings closures and transport timetable changes

The May Day holiday known as 'Vappu' in Finland will cause several shop closures this year, as the annual holiday falls on a Monday. Public transport timetables will follow Sunday schedules on both Sunday and Monday, but will include extra routes to cater to late-night celebrations.

Vapunviettoa Helsingissä vuonna 2016.
2016 May Day fun in Helsinki Image: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

Finland's May Day holiday will cause timetable changes at the Matkahuolto long-distance bus service and the VR railways. Long-distance trains will run as normal on Sunday and continue according to the Sunday schedule on Monday as well. Long-distance bus services will follow the same pattern.  

Commuter trains in the capital city region will run on Sunday schedules both Sunday and Monday, with many additional starts added to local bus, metro and train traffic to accommodate people heading downtown for the festivities and back home again. See the HSL website for more detailed information.

Alko alcohol shops are open on Saturday as normal until 6 pm, but will be closed on Sunday and Monday, as will the banks.

Retail shops in Finland are now free to stay open on holiday in Finland if they like, and most will probably be open on Sunday and Monday. Check the individual chain's websites for information about your nearby locations.

Crowning and parades to shut down the streets

Traffic on the streets of the Helsinki city centre will be cut off on Sunday, May Day eve, starting at 5 pm to make way for the crowd of people that gather to see the statue of Havis Amanda crowned with a graduation cap. The downtown area is normally full of revellers until late in the evening, but this year's unseasonably cold and wet conditions may put a damper on this.

On Monday, May 1, May Day itself, a traditional parade organized by Finland's largest labour union SAK, will move through the centre of the city starting at 10 am from the Hakaniemi Square, moving to the Citizen's Square near the Music Centre at 11 am. Traffic will once again be stopped for the duration of the parade. The police advise everyone to avoid travelling with a car in the city after 5 pm on Sunday and the first half of the day on Monday.

Helsinki Police have made plans to beef up their presence at this year's Vappu celebrations, and an increase in horseback police will be especially noticeable on the streets. The police say no other demonstrations besides the SAK parade are expected.

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