What’s up with celebrating on aatto?

Finns love to celebrate. Whether the reasons are religious, cultural, sporting or otherwise, the flag is generally raised around the country at least once a month to honour various traditions.

And so, as we round the corner to vappu celebrations once again, it can’t be overlooked that not only do Finns love each particular annual day of celebration, it is also the night before that gets a major – if not more significant – mention on occasion.

AURA River is one of Turku’s focal points in the summer time. With a series of boats lining its winding length, it’s here that revelers gather during the long, warm days to enjoy a beverage or two in the sun.

“Turku is a small town with a beautiful canal and a good vibe,” explains manager Isaac Visser, taking a break from renovating the site of the next Aussie Bar, which is set to open in a boat located on Aura River on 1 May.

You’ve probably heard about surveys ranking Helsinki as the best place to live. Now the city will bring the fight for that title to the streets in the form of a festival called Ihana Helsinki (Wonderful Helsinki).

Commencing this year, the festival is planned to become an annual explosion of flowers and events returning to the city every spring. Ihana Helsinki will take place in the downtown Helsinki area for five days commencing on 9 May and ending on the 12th, which is Mother’s Day in Finland.

My hometown is Dunedin, a city around the same size as Oulu, on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Dunedin is a university town and is famous for its student culture. During the academic year, from February to November, the local population swells by more than 15,000, as students (known as “Scarfies”) from around the country head south to Otago University to experience its unique lifestyle.

A mythical birth of Easter traditions.

EASTER, the deeply significant Christian festival, has become steeped in many traditions and rituals. I’m sure we are all aware of the religious connotations of many of these customs but I don’t remember a bunny in the Bible or children painting eggs with all the colours of the rainbow. So what is all this about?