This spring festival is a popular carnival that has traditionally been celebrated by workers and students. On the eve of May Day, students gather at the Market Square to wash the statue of Havis Amanda and place a student cap on her head. The celebrations continue throughout the city. The following morning everyone gathers in Kaivopuisto Park and Ullanlinnanmäki for a picnic and more sparkling wine. Parades and other events are also held around Helsinki
Midsummer is one of Åland’s most popular festivals. Ålanders make the most of the long daylight hours and love to celebrate out in the garden, in the countryside or in the archipelago with their family and friends.
People decorate their houses with wreaths and bouquets of summer flowers. The menu tends to include pickled herring and new potatoes cooked with dill, a piece of barbecued meat and strawberries for dessert, plus well-chilled schnapps and beer for the adults.
Many people go to the village maypole to decorate the pole with greenery and flowers and raise it in the company of others from the village and summer guests. Some villages still organise a midsummer dance in the local youth centre or village hall until the sun rises again in the middle of the night.
The shops observe the celebrations as well, by closing early on Midsummer’s Eve. Some shops stay closed on Midsummer’s Day as well, so do your midsummer food shopping in good time! Midsummer’s Eve is always celebrated on the Friday in the period 19–25 June.
There is a maypole in nearly every village in the whole of Åland. The maypole that is properly decorated with green leaves and flowers is typical of midsummer in Åland and is an ancient symbol of fertility and greenery.
Every village has its own traditions in terms of celebrations and the look of the maypole – no two maypoles are alike.
Some maypoles are decorated with colourful midsummer crowns while others are completely green and adorned with wreaths of leaves and garlands of juniper twigs. The leaves represent a good harvest and make hourglass or wheel patterns when they are fastened between the maypole and ropes.
There are many interpretations of the symbolism behind the different details relating to the maypole: the weather, shipping, farming, fishing or the wish to create a more magnificent maypole than the neighbouring village.
What the Åland maypoles have in common is that the 10- to 25- metre-tall maypole either has a simple bend of rope or crossed ropes. Simple maypoles are most common in the archipelago whereas most maypoles in the countryside tend to have crossed ropes.
In the countryside the ends of the ropes tend to be adorned with crowns. The beautiful and colourful crowns are related to Christmas crowns made of straw and are a symbol of virginity, youth, health and every happiness for the future.
The crowns are made a long time in advance, often jointly in the village. The decorating with green leaves is done the day before or on Midsummer’s Eve itself. Everyone is welcome to help! You can find the times in the events calendar.
At the top of the maypole is a wooden “Fäktargubbe”, a man waving his arms in the wind as a symbol of diligence and work. Under the “fäktargubbe” there is a streamer or flag, often in the Åland colours – blue, red and yellow.
Some maypoles are decorated with a sun, symbolising life-giving heat. Small sailing boats sail around the maypole as a symbol of Åland shipping.
*DATES NOT YET SET FOR JULY
Åland Sea Days offer programs from morning until midnight in five days and each day is marked programs and participants of today's theme. In Seafarers` arranged yoga and reading aloud, and on stage, put it on both music and different shows during the daytime.
Sea Days will begin on Wednesday with the Maritime Safety Day with a program of Search and Rescue and the Rescue Services Agency that shows, among other things. a. survival and how to maximize safety at sea. In addition Pirate Rounds, ships, snipor and salsa.
Thursday is Handicraft. Then there will be demonstrations, hands-on activities and crafts vendors. Åland artisans offer their expertise and their products. Everything from carving to textile crafts, sail sewing and repair works to the Viking craft, crochet and forgings. In addition, battle games of Fornförningen Fibula, shorter sailing trips with the schooner Albanus and swing Workshop and Dance.
Friday's Folk Music Day and then fills the Maritime Quarter is filled with delightful folk music from morning to late evening. The day begins with an Estonian driving on the scene, followed by the Åland Kvinnfolk and an Estonian folk dance group. In the afternoon, organized bush games, among others. a. the Åland accordion club and a åboländsk quartet. Åland Design Market, recycling puzzle with Åland Nature & Environment, Coronetparad and dance to the Danish kletsmerbandet Nussbaum All Star.
Saturday's Maritime Day and that means both officers parade and a race with wooden boats out on the bay Slemmern. Do not miss the two-hour tours of the schooner Albanus. Tonight's dance workshop is the popular dance bug.
Children's Day on Sunday begins with Dunder dancers. Children and parents can participate in drakbygge and sack race, go on pirattur, preparing and racing with bark boat and watch rabbit jumping. And of course just enjoy the festival atmosphere and sun with something good to eat and drink.
*JULY 2019 DATES not yet announced please check back!
Welcome to one of Europe’s largest Viking Markets at Kvarnbo on Åland. In the last years the market was visited by around 10,000 people. The success continues!
Here you will rub shoulders with bearded Vikings and bejeweled women. You will see everything from dancing to fighting according to historical technique. In the market place you’ll find craftfolk who manufacture tools and artwork using traditional methods, and sellers to tempt you with textiles, home-baked bread, wrought iron and leather working. And of course plenty of good food and drink in the best Viking style! Music by a variety of players, jesting and loads of kids’ activities, makes this a real treat for the whole family.
Evening activities with music and surprises every night
The bar and restaurant, Knarren, stays open all day and also in connection with evening activities.
The Boathouse bar is also open all day and during the evening.
The Harvest Festival is a joyful event and an essential part of the autumn on Åland arranged by the association Skördefestens Vänner r.f. This popular event highlights the beautiful autumn colours and offers exciting encounters – the consumer meets the producer, young meets the old, the town-dweller meets the farmer. During the Harvest Festival you can discover the Åland countryside and meet down-to-earth people in beautiful environs. Here you can also buy delicious harvest products – everything from meat products to vegetables, bread, marmalades and handicraft. You can also enjoy delicious and fresh local meals. Visit our website and plan your route according to the sales of your favourite products and meals!All products are produced on Åland. Come and learn more about the life in the country!
A food carnival when anyone can open a restaurant
Restaurant Day is created by thousands of people organizing and visiting pop-up restaurants worldwide. The idea is to have fun, share new food experiences and enjoy our common living environments together.
Pop-up restaurants can be opened and local food carnivals can happen anytime and anywhere. List yours on the Restaurant Day map or check out what’s there to eat near you. Restaurant Day is facilitated by a team of volunteers who also maintain this website. All restaurateurs are personally responsible for all actions related to running their restaurants.
Restaurant Day’s birthday is celebrated annually with a big global food carnival every third Saturday of May. That’s the day when we all open pop-up restaurants together worldwide.
This is the 19th year in a row that the Annual International Vera Film Festival for Short and Documentary Films is being held. The Festival keeps growing with each year. The Festival's theme changes from year to year.
There is no official jury. Instead, audience participants hand in their ballots after each film. The film, which in the end has received most points, wins the Festival's Vera Statue.
The International Vera Film Festival is being held at the movie theatre Bio Savoy in Mariehamn, Åland's one and only movie theatre since 1939.