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19.4.2024

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Harjun torni ja Vesilinna iltavalaistuksessa marraskuussa. Image Outi Kaakkuri
This year, Jyväskylä's May Day will kick off with a bang, when a student-created Vappukuulutus! echoes from the Harju Tower to signal the start of the spring festival week. The song, composed by students and played by Puhkupillit, will be heard from Harju on Wednesday 24 April at 20.00. In addition to the students, Jyväskylä's May Day celebrations offer a wide range of activities for families with children and anyone else interested in the spring festivities.

Students have a programme for the whole week

Jyväskylä is launching a new May Day tradition this year, Vappukuulutus!, which will resound in the Harju and the surrounding area on Wednesday 24 April at 20.00. Composed by music education student and musician Veikka Holma, the song is inspired by Harju's evening song. The idea for the new student tradition came from the students themselves.

– The students' wish was to create a new May Day tradition in Jyväskylä that would be common to all university students, which gave rise to the idea of the May Day announcement," says Akseli Immonen, Chairman of the JYY Board.

The City of Jyväskylä wanted to allow an exception to the custom of playing the Harju ridge evening song and thus support the students' idea:

– We want to show the students that they are important to Jyväskylä and an integral part of the city's vitality and growth. We appreciate the students and their great suggestions for developing the city's event activities," says Emmi Palokangas, Director of Communications. 

In connection with the May Day announcement, JYY is organising an event open to the public and free of charge on 24 April at the Vesilinna parking lot, featuring the band Voitto. The programme will also include speeches.  

The May Week events will continue on Friday 26 April, when Jyväskylä will host the Amazing Race, a May Day-themed races for students. The race will start every half an hour from Seminaarinmäki at 11–12. The teams of 4 will compete against each other in an urban environment. Playful and happy competitors in their student overalls will be seen all over Jyväskylä on Friday.

On the eve of May Day 30 April, from 17.15–18, students will place a student cap on the head of the statue of Uno Cygnaeus for the last time in Cygnaeus Park. After the cap is placed on the statue of Uno Cygnaeus, the students move on to the Mattilanniemi beach to watch the traditional watering ceremony “Teekkari Dipping” organised by the Teekkari students' association Algo. Once the renovation of the church park is complete, the elaborate ceremony "the capping of Minna Canth” will return to its original location at the statue of Minna Canth.

In addition to joint events, the university student associations organise several events of their own around the May Day festivities. This year, Jamko, the student organisation of Jamk students, is organising a May Day Sitsfest lasting up to nine hours on 22 April. Jamko will be also taking part in the Children's Music Campus Day for the whole family on Saturday 27 April from 10am to 2pm.  

All students and student-minded people are welcome to JYY's May Day picnic on Wednesday 1.5. at 12–17. The picnic area is in the area starting from the Harju stairs (Nero's stairs) towards the Normal School. The event is open to all and free of charge.  

May Day festivities for all ages in the city on several days 

SThe Craft Museum of Finland is preparing for the May Day celebrations in advance with a workshop on “Masks and crowns” on Tuesday 23 April. The Jyväskylä Art Museum and the The Craft Museum of Finland will be exceptionally open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m on the eve of May Day. The museums will be closed on May Day, 1st of May.  

The cultural house Villa Rana’s VekaRana event on Saturday 27 April at 13–15 will feature performances by the children's groups of the Jyväskylä Dance Institute and the Gradia children's singing group. There will also be a disco night and May Day decorations are made. The Villa Rana restaurant will be serving May Day treats. The event is organised in cooperation with Jyväskylä Dance Academy, Gradia and TaidePiiLO. Admission is free of charge.

The whole family is invited to Veturitallit on Sunday 28 April at 15–16.30. Before the concert by troll band “Naavakainen and Tökkyrä”, children can make a traditional May Day flower or May Day whisk in the workshop. Café Kisko will be open during the event. Tickets €10 from the City of Jyväskylä online shop: verkkokauppa.jyvaskyla.fi.

The Piippuranta Club's May Day party will be celebrated with the Hikers band oSun Monday 29.4. at 16.30–18.30. Dance artist Teija Häyrynen will also be there to get you in the mood. Tickets €5 at the door, including traditional soft drink sima.

The traditional May Day market street will be open to the public on the Kauppakatu promenade from 29 April to 1 May, with some vendors even until 4 May. The stalls near the Kauppakatu compass will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Food, sweets like liquorice, all kinds of goods, doughnuts, and soft drink sima will be on sale. There will also be a bouncy castle for children from 30 April to 1 May from 10am to 6pm.

On 1 May at 12 noon, the traditional male choir Sirkat and wind band Puhkupillit will perform on the Are square.

For more events during the holiday season and other events, see the Jyväskylä events calendar: https://kalenteri.jyvaskyla.fi/en.