Laskiainen: a Finnish Student Tradition

Laskiainen is almost upon us, and while many of us may have been counting down days since Christmas, frantically sewing patches onto our overalls in preparation of the big day, for international students and freshmen, this wintery celebration might not be so familiar. Here, then, is a little introduction to Laskiainen, arguably the biggest and most important student event before Vappu rolls around in late April.

Laskiainen has its roots in both pagan and Christian traditions of welcoming spring and preparing for Lent, and in Finland it's traditionally been celebrated by sledding and eating good food (laskiaispulla is bae). For Finnish students, Laskiainen is an opportunity to pause in the middle of our hectic schedules, grab a sled, and head to Laskiaisrieha in Kaivopuisto Park for a guaranteed good time with fellow students. There will be all kinds of fun things going on, including a downhill race where teams of students compete in creative, homemade sleds (or sled-like constructions). The event is organized by the students at Aalto University, but students from all universities all across the country are welcome (and expected) to join.

But you wouldn’t want to freeze your legs off in the great outdoors without the chance of attending some solid after-ski celebrations. There’s plenty of those on offer around Helsinki, from a first-ever Laskiainen pub crawl to the official AYY afterparty to different student organisations’ own after-ski events. Check with your own subject organisation, they probably have something planned!

For the best possible Laskiainen, wear your student overalls with plenty of warm layers underneath, get your childhood sled, a piece of cardboard, or anything else that you can gracefully slide down a snowy hill on, fill a thermos with something warm to drink, and don’t forget your student ID. This year there might even be some snow on the ground, which is going to make sledding a lot easier. See you on Tuesday!