Signage around the statue promoting remote Vappu celebrations (Image: Lehtikuva)

News in brief

HELSINKI'S ICONIC HAVIS AMANDA STATUE has been fenced off by city authorities in an attempt to discourage crowds gathering at the location for traditional May Day (Vappu) celebrations this week, in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

Traditionally, tens of thousands of people gather in central Helsinki on the 1 May to celebrate Vappu, with festivities often culminating with a group of university students placing a cap atop the head of the statue, a tradition that has taken place for close to a century. 

The Havis Amanda statue was created by the Finnish sculptor Valle Vallgren and unveiled in September 1908. The statue was modelled on a 19-year-old Parisian model and was designed to represent the ''rebirth' of the city of Helsinki in the early days of the 20th century. 

Much of the traditional Vappu celebrations have moved online this year, with virtual parties and speeches being hosted by universities, student groups, labour unions, and government bodies throughout Finland. Signage added to the fencing today features slogans reminding people to celebrate this year at home. 


Adam Oliver Smith - HT

Image Credit: Lehtikuva