"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"

- Alan Hogan

Showing posts with label Suomi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Suomi. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vappu! - May Day in Finland

In Finland, Walpurgis day (Vappu) is one of the four biggest holidays along with Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and Midsummer (Juhannus). During Vappu one can find big festivals held on the streets of Finland's towns and cities. This celebration which begins on the evening of 30 April and continues to 1 May, involves an all day party with consumption of sima (mead), sparkling wine and other alcoholic beverages.

Student traditions, particularly those of the engineering students, are one of the main characteristics of Vappu. Since the end of the 19th century, this traditional upper-class feast has been appropriated by university students. Many lukio (university-preparatory high school) alumni (who are thus traditionally assumed to be university bound), wear a cap. One tradition is to drink sima, a home-made low-alcohol mead, along with freshly cooked cakes called Tippaleipä. The first time I saw these cakes I thought they looked like fish-bait. But like anything new it must be tried at least once, so I tasted this worm-like delicacy. My verdict was negative. The taste was likened to that of a dull donut, and the cake was a little awkward to eat as it crumbled apart into small pieces on my first bite. In conclusion, it's now near the bottom of my cake list along with carrot-cake!

Tippaleipä and Sima (Mead)

Since I've had all my education back in Ireland I don't have a Finnish cap to wear on this day. I usually celebrate Vappu with a few Finnish friends at home in my garden, depending if the weather is nice. My friends always wear their student caps as is the custom in Finland. During the first few years living in Finland I used to feel a little out of place or somewhat unbelonging for being the only person not wearing a cap at these parties, but this feeling has since disappeared thanks to good food, good company and the joyful consumption of alcohol!

A typical Finnish student cap

I was at one large Vappu party a few years ago where I had an interesting and fun night. Lots of dancing, Finnish food, balloons and even some salmiakki!! It was back in Dublin long before I moved to Finland at a special Vappu event organised by the Irish-Finnish Society. I remember it well as it was held in a place called 'The Garda Club', a recreational venue owned and run by the Irish Police. That was the first time I saw the now familiar sight of the white Finnish student cap.

The main event as far as Vappu is concerned in Finland is the placing of a student cap on Havis Amanda, one of Helsinki's famous statues.

Havis Amanda statue and fountain
in Helsinki, Finland.

Here's a clip of Finnish students placing the cap on Havis Amanda in 2013. The weather was just as it is today here, blue skies and sunshine. A nice start to the new Spring!

I'm not sure what my plans are for tomorrow 1st of May, but for tonight I shall be having a quiet night in to celebrate Vappu with my own brand of Sima from Bunratty! And who knows, I might end up wearing my own student cap by the end of the night (ie. the cap of the bottle!)

Hauskaa Vappua!!!
Glada Wappen!!!
Happy May Day!!!

Lá breá Bealtaine agaibh!!!

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- Alan 


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Moments of Light

Pauli Luoma

Last Thursday April 5th 2012, I attended the opening of 'Valon Hetkiä', an exhibition of oil paintings by Pauli Luoma at the Jade Gallery in Helsinki, Finland. The title of this exhibition translates from Finnish to English as 'Moments of light'. The artist Pauli Luoma from Hamina, was displaying some of his most recent work including some new paintings featuring wonderful coastal scenery from western Finland. 

Pauli Luoma - Tuulinen päivä (Windy day)

It was clear to see the artist's gifted talent in his achievement to capture perfectly the balance of daylight tones reflecting on each of his images. The painting above is no exception. While the viewer is immediately drawn to the pale tones associated with grey skies and wind, one can't help but notice those warmer tones on distant trees cast from hidden sunbeams. I suppose it is these lighter tones or moments that we must appreciate and cherish, for as with life's similar moments they never last very long and often fail to return the way we remember.

Here's a photograph of myself with the artist Pauli Luoma and a gallery visitor taken during the opening of his art exhibition at Jade Gallery in Helsinki last week. Thanks to Jatta Hartikainen for this photo.

Alan Hogan (left) and  Pauli Luoma (centre) at Jade Gallery, Helsinki. - April 2012

As well as landscapes, Pauli Luoma's current exhibition also includes a selection of his figurative paintings. I found these to be a nice accompaniment to his landscapes, with calming tones and complimentary moods.

Pauli Luoma - Nainen valoisassa huoneessa (Woman in a bright room)

Here's a video featuring more of Luoma's wonderful figurative work.


Pauli Luoma's 'Valon Hetkiä' art exhibition continues at Jade Gallery in Helsinki until 30.04.2012. 
If you have any questions or wish to meet the artist, he will be present in Jade Gallery on the following date, 22.04.2012, 13.00 - 17.00

Thanks to Pauli Louma for inviting me to his opening exhibition and thank 'you' for reading my blog. Feel free to share with all your friends.


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