Vappu is about to start. One very important part of the celebration is Mantan Lakitus. But what is that and what happens there?
Every year at April 30th (tomorrow!) the students of Helsinki come to the fountain at Kauppatori where they give the white student’s cap to the Havis Amanda Statue. It is a special honor to be chosen for this very special event. In the old days the students used to climb up the statue to put the cap on top of the woman’s head. At some point the city forbid that to avoid damage for the fountain. Nowadays a crane lowers a group of students from above down to the statue. Before Havis Amanda (or Manta) gets her cap the statue is being washed by the students. At 6 p.m. the cap will then be put in place. This is then also the sign for everyone around to start wearing their hats (it’s not allowed before).
Mantan lakitus has a long tradition and is really worth watching. It is recommendable to be there an hour early if you want to see something.