AYY organizes many different annual events. Some traditions are upheld year after year, and new ones are created all the time. The annually renewed organizers make sure ideas stay fresh and something new is always being introduced. Below is a list of events that are most likely held each year.
Annual Festival Week of the Student Union
AYY’s anniversary is held on the Saturday near the Flower day. On the first year of AYY activity a birth celebration was held at the Aalto Design Factory in Otaniemi on 6 February 2010. Time will tell what form the annual celebrations take; will traditions emerge or will the festivities take on a different concept each year. Year 2016 the celebration is held on Saturday April 14.
The programme of the Annual Festival Week comprises of a wide variety of different events so that everyone can find their own way to celebrate the existence of the student union. Besides AYY members, the guest list for the anniversary itself includes university staff and people from other student unions and AYY’s foreign partner associations.
Shrove Tuesday & Gravitaatio Party
Around Shrovetide the snow covered Ullanlinnanmäki hill in Helsinki’s Kaivopuisto park fills to the brim with overall-clad or otherwise warmly attired students from all over the metropolitan area. Shrove Tuesday is a busy and bustling jubilation in the snow where you can let your inner child out of the cage. Traditionally, the programme has included crazy downhill sliding as well as a competition where the most handsome sliding vehicle is rewarded. It is also not unheard of that different student associations have provided warming liquids and filling snacks at the scene.
After the snowy celebrations all Aalto peoples should head to the Gravitaatio Party to continue the evening in a slightly warmer setting.
Vappu, the May Day Party Extraordinaire
Every student in Aalto has their own way of celebrating Vappu, Wappu, May Day Blow-out or whatever they choose to call it. For some it is a one day fling, for others it is lengthy undertaking lasting a week in the least! Most of the May Day events staged by AYY and the student associations are open to every AYY member and are therefore a great way to get to know new people and cultures. Come spring, the Vappu festivities will be advertised everywhere and when the festival is closing upon us, information about them will be found on www.wappu.fi. One of the biggest individual events is the Wappu Party held in Dipoli in Otaniemi on 30 April, where a slide propels partygoers towards a jubilant evening with friends.
The so called official part of Vappu begins with the “capping” of the statue Havis Amanda (or Manta to her friends) on Kauppatori marketplace at 6 p.m. on May Day’s Eve, 30 April. The “capping” means placing a student’s cap on the statue’s head and it first took place in 1932, though it was not so official back then. The ritual attained its current form in 1951, although as late as the 1970’s it was done later in the evening, on the stroke of midnight (this is why students of technology, the teekkari, still put on their teekkari caps at midnight when everyone else starts wearing their student’s caps earlier).
Wappu reaches its peak on the Ullanlinnanmäki hill where a rather self-organizing herring breakfast takes place on 1 May. The morning begins at 9 a.m. with an event organized by the student unions of the metropolitan area where the presidents of the student unions deliver their Wappu greetings and the YL Male Voice Choir performs. This event is, however, only a scratch on the surface of all the day’s jubilation, which often continues long into the night.
The Arrival of New Students
Most of Aalto University’s new students begin their studies between late August and early September. New students are welcomed in greeting events, orientation lectures and other possible freshmen functions. AYY also stages an event for new students where they get to meet other freshmen and older students. This event was first held in autumn 2010 and was called Hyökyaalto (Tidal Wave). There are also the different events held in the winter wonderland that is Otaniemi after the beginning of spring term. Then all new students, even those who’ve just started in January, have a chance to join in on the frosty frolicking.
AYY also helps organize other new student events such as Term Inaugurations and their follow-up parties and the Aalto First Experience Day, where new students roam around the campuses and follow lectures and workshops and familiarize themselves with the possibilities Aalto University offers.
Lakinlaskijaiset or Caps Off Party
Lakinlaskijaiset is a big AYY organized party in Dipoli in Otaniemi held annually on 30 September. Originally a teekkari (students of technology) event, Lakinlaskijaiset marks the day when the teekkari are no longer allowed to wear their tasselled teekkari caps, hence the name. At midnight the Dipoli stage is overtaken by the newer French horn music of the Retuperä Voluntary Fire Brigade Band from Espoo, and the teekkari caps are off until the next Wappu. Besides the cap ritual, Lakinlaskijaiset is a so called regular super fun time party and you shouldn’t let the teekkari scare you away! The party has always boasted plenty of quality performers and fun activities. After all, there is lots of room to par-tay in Dipoli!
The Campus Expo is held during autumn term on all three main campuses. At the Expo all AYY associations have a chance to showcase their activities, attract new members or just make some noise about themselves. For students it is a splendid opportunity to scout what all the different associations have to offer and join in on the action. Besides AYY associations some of University of Helsinki’s student nations and other organizations close to Aalto students (like the FSHS) are also present at the Expo.
Students’ Torch Procession
The student’s torch procession is an Independence Day tradition of the student unions of the metropolitan area (AYY, HYY, SAY, SHS). It dates back to the year 1951 when Mannerheim, the Finnish president and commander-in-chief, died. Even back then the procession gathered a large crowd of onlookers and it has evolved into a tradition for the whole city.
The event begins with the wreathing of Sankariristi (Hero’s Cross) at Hietaniemi cemetery. The procession itself commences in Hietaniemenkatu street and concludes at the Senate Square where the high mayor of Helsinki and presidents of the student unions deliver their speeches. A choir sings and the sight of thousands of torches, flags and white caps walking the streets is breathtaking to behold.