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May Day

May Day 2021, 2022 and 2023

May Day is a big celebration in Finland. It is a holiday that has multiple “intertwined” roots, some pagan, some Christian, some secular.

YearDateDayHoliday
20211 MaySatMay Day
20221 MaySunMay Day
20231 MayMonMay Day
20241 MayWedMay Day
Please scroll down to end of page for previous years' dates.

In the ancient past, Finns celebrated the arrival of spring around this time of year. During its time as a Catholic country, Finland celebrated the feast day of Saint Walburga on 1 May, in an attempt to supplant the old pagan rites. In modern times, 1 May became International Workers’ Day, or “Labour Day,” and this has also had its impact on the May Day celebrations in Finland.

However, Finnish May Day has evolved into a kind of national carnival that takes place in cities all over the country. People don colourful, playful costumes, make lots of noise, and some consume large quantities of “Nordic spirits.”

In the old pagan days, people would light large bonfires and dance around them, while making plenty of noise to scare off the witches and goblins. Today, Finns are much more likely to go on a May Day picnic instead. The winter snow is just barely gone or still barely lingering this time of year. It is a wonderful time to walk outdoors and enjoy the beginning of a Finnish spring.

Previous Years

YearDateDayHoliday
20201 MayFriMay Day
20191 MayWedMay Day
20181 MayTueMay Day
20171 MayMonMay Day