Opiskelijoita vappuna

Academic Tradition: Students’ Wappu is full of fun get-togethers and old traditions

Tiia Alkkiomäki
Nina Jokiaho
Vappu (May Day) is the highlight of student life and you might look forward to celebrating it all year round. Or, to be more precise, at University of Vaasa you look forward for Wappu Crawl, with cerebrations starting already in mid-April.

Every university has its own traditions celebrating spring and May Day, Vappu. University of Vaasa students’ tradition is the Wappu Crawl.  This is a series of events organized by VYY (Student union of University of Vaasa) and student organisations operating within VYY.  Wappu Crawl offers events on every single day between 17 April and 1 May.  You gather stamps in your Wappu pass and by returning your pass you will get the coveted Wappu Crawl overall patch.  

This sounds like fun, and a bit tough. Party every single day?  

– You can very well participate in the Wappu Crawl without drinking alcohol. We have several events that are non-alcoholic, and of course you do not need to drink alcohol to participate in any of events. Nice examples of non-alcoholic events are HerkkuAppro, where you visit the cafés and restaurants in Vaasa, Sima Yoga with meditation and yoga and a glass of Sima, the Finnish vappu drink, says Lauri Hasa, responsible for Culture, events and Communications at VYY.  

READ MORE:  VYY's Wappu Crawl

Wappu celebrations in 1997.

Statue of Topelius gets a student cap – brings students and citizens of Vaasa together  

The Wappu events culminates on April 30, starting at 12 pm with a traditional picnic in the park of Hoviska. The park is full of students in their overalls, popping some bubbly and just having fun meeting old and new friends, in the hopefully warm and sunny weather. If not add some warm clothes and keep enjoying the atmosphere.  

As the clock ticks towards 6 pm, the merry party moves from Hoviska towards the centre of the city to see the Topelius statue get his own student cap (ylioppilaslakki). This event is open for all, and a lot of alumni and citizens of Vaasa has this as their tradition as well. When Topelius has received his cap, the audience will put their own hats on - some in gleaming white, others already elegantly weathered.

After this the audience spreads to own celebrations in honour of spring. The participants in the Wappu Crawl will go to VYY´s official Wappu Party as Rewell Center shopping mall will this year transform into a night club. 

Statue of Topelius receiving its student cap 2019. 
When Topelius has received his cap, the audience will put their own hats on - some in gleaming white, others already elegantly weathered.

Technology students takes a dip – “Teekkarikaste”  

A “Teekkari” is a technology student studying at a technical university. Teekkaris’ has a lot of own traditions. On May 1, the new technology students gets the “teekkarikaste”, a dipping.

This means they will take a a dip in the sea (or somewhere else, it’s not known as the article is written). Last year this happened at Hietasaari beach. But over the years this has taken place in Mansikkasaari as well as in the fountain by the city hall. In addition to the students this event is often attended by curious citizens and technology teachers and alumni.  

Teekkarikaste at the fountain by the city hall, some years ago. 

The mystery of the black tassel  

– With ritual, “teekkarikaste”, the new students finally get the right to wear the teekkari-cap, styled with one black tassel.  They are entitled to wear this hat in accordance with our teekkari associatio regulations," says Roni Haakana, chair of Tutti, the technical sciences students' association.   

Need to mention that each town with technology students has its own regulations on the use of the cap. In Vaasa, the cap can be worn freely from April 30 as the Topelius statue receives its cap until the end of September. At that time, there is a party to celebrate and mark the end of the right to wear it.  

– There are exceptions to the Teekkari cap regulations, whereby the cap may be worn outside the period of use, such as on excursions or visits to educational establishments to represent the University of Vaasa. You can apply to the Tutti Board for a permit to wear a cap at any time, but it will only be granted in very justified circumstances.  

The teekkari cap has been in use for about 130 years, according to TEK (trade union for academic engineers and architects in Finland). In the early years, the appearance of the cap was debated, but the current version was chosen because it was considered to be "... particularly attractive to women."  

Teekkari caps waiting for the new teekkaris. 
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