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May Day reminder

Finland celebrates May Day (Vappu) on Tuesday, bringing a slew of closures and changes to opening hours as well as festivities nationwide.

Vappuruuhka Helsingin Esplanadilta.
Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Finland’s bacchanalian May Day party starts on 30 April with gatherings in town and market squares across the country. The biggest and most famous of these is around the Havis Amanda statue by Helsinki’s South Harbour, onto which students traditionally place a white cap to kick off the carousing.

Those white caps, awarded to those who have matriculated from Upper Secondary school in Finland and then donned once a year by most who received them, are then ubiquitous in Finland until 2 May.

May Day also brings changes to opening hours. Banks and post offices are closed on 1 May, as is the state alcohol monopoly Alko. The last chance to buy sparkling wine from Alko is at 6pm on Monday, with stores then closed until Wednesday morning.

Long distance rail services mostly run to normal Monday timetables on 30 May, with Sunday schedules in operation on Tuesday 1 May. There will be some additional commuter services on 30 April to help transport revellers home. There are more details on the VR website.

Long distance bus schedules can be checked on the Matkahuolto website.

Local transport in the Helsinki region runs to Friday timetables on 30 April, and to Sunday timetables on 1 May. Metro services will run for an additional three hours on 30 April with final trains in both directions passing through Helsinki city centre after 2:20 am.

There’s more information about Helsinki local transport on the Helsinki Region Transport website. There are equivalent sources for Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä and other cities.

On 1 May many town centres will see marches and speeches, which could cause temporary traffic diversions.

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