The Flower Day

The Flower Day (or Flora Day) is the second official celebration of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki. It is the joyful spring festival of all university students, celebrated every year on 13 May at Kumtähti Field in Toukola, right next to Kumpula Campus. University students have celebrated a spring festival at least from the beginning of the 19th century, and Kumtähti Field was established as the place for the celebration already in the 1830’s.

The celebration in 1848 was as a special day in the origins of Finnish national identity. That year, the Maamme song, which later has received the status of Finland’s national anthem, was sang for the first time by the students gathered in Kumtähti Field. Also an early version of the Finnish flag was used for the first time on that occasion – afterwards, this flag became the flag of the Student Union. So, in addition to being the university students’ spring festival, the Flower Day is now also celebrated as the “birthday” of the Finnish national anthem.

Every year, the Flower Day programme still includes a performance of the Maamme song. In addition, there are now other kinds of live music performances, spring speeches, snacks and DJ music. All students are welcome to take their own picnic lunch with them and to celebrate both the end of the spring and the birthday of the national anthem with their friends in a relaxed atmosphere. The programme starts at 12noon.

Read more about the Flower Day on the Student Union’s web page.

Get Your Master’s Thesis Written! Grant – Report from Kilpisjärvi

If you already are a master’s student starting your thesis, you have the chance to apply for the Get Your Master’s Thesis Written! Grant. The aim of the grant is to promote the finalizing of the master’s thesis by providing for an intensive thesis writing period at one of the field stations of the University. The field stations are located in Hyytiälä, Kilpisjärvi, Lammi, Tvärminne and Värriö.

Read our students report from the Kilpisjärvi research station!

Kilpisjärvi research station and the Saana fell

Today I am spending my last day at the Kilpisjärvi biological station. I have been here for two weeks and decided now to send report about this period of time.

The grant has been very useful for me. Finishing of my thesis has been delayed as I am doing nearly full-time work. Now I got leave of absence for March in my work. At the beginning of March I was writing my thesis in Helsinki, but working here in Kilpisjärvi has been more efficient. It has been easier to read and write, which is certainly because of peace of the place. Here I do not have to worry about cooking and washing dishes as meals are included to the grant. I can easily clear my thoughts by skiing amidst beautiful scenery as ski tracks are situated next to the station. Here I have managed to make bigger step in my writing process. I wish to return my thesis and graduate at the end of the year. All in all I have really enjoyed my stay here.

The lake Kilpisjärvi
The lake Kilpisjärvi

One reason, why I wanted to come to Kilpisjärvi, is the theme of my thesis. I am majoring in social and cultural anthropology. I am writing my thesis about the holy places of Udmurts. They are a Finno-Ugric people living on Central Russia, where I have conducted my fieldwork. Some subgroups of Udmurts have maintained their ethnic religion in, which rituals conducted in holy places are essential. I was interested to come to Kilpisjärvi because of the old holy places of Sami people. They are also a Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Northern parts of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. Their holy places were called seita, which were unusual rocks or big stones. They were prayed for hunting and fishing luck. For Sami holy places are not anymore living part of their religion, but seita can still be seen in the landscape. Actually the most prominent holy place in Kilpisjärvi is Saana fell, by which the biological station is situated.

While being here I have read a lot about the holy places of Sami. It has brought useful comparative perspective for my thesis. During my summer holiday I will return here for hiking and searching for more seita, which I have already marked on the map.

Thanks for this useful grant!”

Kirsi Hafeez


More information about the grants for enrolled students can be found in the University of Helsinki intranet Alma.

Vappu – celebrating spring and student life

Spring has now finally arrived in Finland and with it, of course, the biggest student party of the year: Vappu. Vappu is a big spring festival and celebrated all over Finland. For many students it is the highlight of the year. On the 30th of April and 1st of May you can see students wearing overalls and doing silly things all over Helsinki. Why don’t you join them?

Here is some practical info and tips to help you celebrate the best Vappu ever:

On the 30th of April:
A lot of student organizations have some punsch in the afternoon to toast to Vappu. Afterwards, they will go together to watch the crowning of the Havis Amanda statue. Havis Amanda, a fountain and a statue, is one of the landmarks in Helsinki. On Vappu she is given a good scrub and a white student hat. Bring your own food and drinks. In Finland, we usually drink sparkling wine on Vappu. Vappu is also usually celebrated in colorful wigs, sunglasses, face and hair paint, streamers and balloons, and if you have student overalls, this is the time to wear them!

On May Day, 1st of May:
On May Day morning the party continues in Kaivopuisto park where all students gather to celebrate (except the Swedish speaking students who gather in Kaisaniemi park). It’s like a big picnic, so bring your own food and drink. The dress code is still funny hats/sunglasses and overalls. Finnish students wear their student hats (ylioppilaslakki), that they got when they graduated from high school.

Also, it is a must to try traditional Finnish Vappu food such as mead (or “sima” in finnish), dognuts and “tippaleipä” (funnel cake) that can be found in all grocery stores this time of the year.

Read more about the Vappu celebrationson the Studen Union’s webb page.

Text: Jenny from ESN
Picture: Juho Saarinen