May Day celebrations begin across country

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The celebration of International Workers’ Day, widely known as May Day, began in the country as elsewhere around the world commemorating the 1886 uprising of Chicago workers for establishing their rights.

The programmes marking the May Day, locally called Vappu Day, began on Sunday evening through washing and crowning of the Havis Amanda statue in the capital, with thousands of people witnessing the ceremony.

Celebrations of the May Day eve caused cut of traffic on the streets at the city centre.

This year the ceremony, involving a group of students hoisted by a crane above the fountain-statue Havis Amanda was carried out by Aalto University students at about 6:00 pm.

On May 1, the traditional parade of May Day will be organized by country's largest labour union SAK, which will start at 10 am from Hakaniemi Square and move around the city centre and the senate Square near.

The traffic movement will be disrupted and the police advised people to avoid travelling with a car in the city from 5 pm on Sunday to 12 noon on Monday.

Helsinki Police decided to beef up security measures during the celebration of Vappu celebrations between Sunday and Monday.

As is tradition, a variety of events and demonstrations will be held on both days and Police assured to ensure safety at the demonstrations and handle the related traffic control, said Helsinki police.

‘We are expecting a busy May Day Eve and May Day this year. There will be plenty of people out and about, and the Helsinki Police Department will be there to keep everyone safe,’ said Superintendent of Helsinki Police Jari Friman.

President Sauli Niinistö and First Lady Jenni Haukio will receive traditional May Day greetings in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace on Monday morning.

The event starts at 10.50 a.m. with the reception of the Mayflower. The Mayflower is a charity pin sold by school children as part of an annual nationwide fundraising organized by Folkhälsan, a civil society organization.

The proceeds of the fundraising will be used to promote health and safety of children and young people.

After that, the Presidential couple will be greeted by the Finnish Workers' Music Federation.

This year, the musical salute will be performed by the Rauma Youth Band, a member orchestra of the Federation.

The event will end with the traditional greetings presented by the Student Union of the University of Helsinki and the YL Male Voice Choir at 11.30 a.m.

The public is welcome to follow the event from the Market Square and Pohjois Esplanadi.

Similar programmes were organised across the country.

The crowning of the statue has been being done with official permission since 1951 and before that it was done without a permit.

International Workers’ Day marks the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, when Chicago police fired on workers during a general strike for their legitimate rights, including an eight-hour working day. The firing resulted in the deaths of several demonstrators and police officers.

May 1 was adopted as International Workers’ Day by socialist delegates in Paris in 1889. More than 400 delegates met in Paris on the centenary of the French revolution at the Marxist International Socialist Congress, the founding meeting of the Second International.

The 1889 resolution called for a one-time demonstration but it became an annual event in the course of time. May Day was celebrated in Russia, Brazil and Ireland first in 1891.

The day is a public holiday in most countries.

Meanwhile, due to May Day celebrations, there will be alterations in both long-distance and commuter services.

  •  May
  •  Day
  •  Vappu
  •  Finland


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