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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Finland Series at FinnishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Finnish holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 15, Graduation Day. In Finnish, it’s called valmistujaispäivä or valmistujaiset.
The end of spring brings a moment eagerly anticipated by pupils and students across Finland—the school graduation day and spring fete or kevätjuhla. In this lesson, we will learn all about Graduation Day in Finland.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
How old is "Suvivirsi," the Summer Hymn, which is a hymn traditionally sung at school spring festivals?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Finnish school children and students finish school and start summer vacations usually either at the end of May or at the beginning of June. Until finishing high school, in Finnish lukio, or vocational school, in Finnish ammattikoulu, students will typically participate in the spring festival held by their school, which involves musical performances, speeches, and the distribution of study certificates, or todistusten jako. The Summer Hymn, or Suvivirsi, has traditionally been sung at such spring festivals, although in recent years, a number of locations have converted the hymn to a non-religious Summer Song format.
Students' graduation ceremonies and graduations to an occupation are especially significant in Finland. Graduation Day is a celebration for young people from dawn to dusk. The day begins with a festive ceremony at the school, where students are allowed to place a white student cap, or ylioppilaslakki in Finnish, on their heads. Relatives and friends come to the young person's home to celebrate after the ceremony. The student's evening ends with a relaxed but festive celebration with their school friends.
Recently-graduated students are pampered with flowers and gifts. Long-stemmed roses are the most common flowers to give to the students. The most popular gifts for those graduating from high school or to a profession are gift cards, checks, jewelry, and books. Those who will be going to university also often receive household items such as linens as a gift. Students usually take a graduation photo, or valmistujaiskuva, in a photo studio, and send the image as a thank-you message to those who participated in the celebration.
Until the 1950s, students used to have a habit of wearing their white student caps during the whole of the summer holiday, from May Day until the end of September. Nowadays, however, the cap is worn mainly only during May Day and during various academic events.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
How old is "Suvivirsi," the Summer Hymn, which is a hymn traditionally sung at school spring festivals?
The original Swedish version of the Summer Hymn was written in 1694, and it was translated into Finnish in 1700. This translation has since been revised and the hymn has also been made into a non-religious version, known as the Summer Song. There is also a version of the hymn written in Stadi slang, which is the slang spoken in the capital Helsinki.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
When do summer holidays begin in your country?
Leave us a comment at FinnishPod101.com, and see you again in the next class!