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ArtSU to celebrate Vappu in virtual reality

Published : 22 Apr 2020, 02:35

Updated : 22 Apr 2020, 10:21

  DF Report

File Photo Xinhua.

On this Vappu (May Day), the University of the Arts Student Union (ArtSU), responsible for the traditional Crowning of Havis Amanda, will arrange the ceremony entirely in a virtual environment.

The traditional crowning ceremony at the Market Square is not possible this time due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the student union still wants to bring joy to everyone’s Vappu celebrations by organising it in an alternative way, allowing everyone to follow it safely from their homes, said the City of Helsinki in a press release.

Conducted in cooperation with the City of Helsinki and the VR studio Zoan, the virtual crowning ceremony offers an opportunity to experience the traditional event in a wholly new and unique manner.

The crowning ceremony can be viewed, e.g., on Helsinki-Kanava on the Vappu Eve, April 30, at 5.45 pm, and it is a part of the larger Vappu programme offered by the City of Helsinki. The city will publish the ‘Vappu at Home’ programme in its entirety later this week.

“The Crowning of Havis Amanda is one of Helsinki’s most beloved Vappu traditions, which this year can’t be organised as usual due to the coronavirus epidemic. It has been great to witness the creative approach with which the ArtSU Student Union, together with the city and Zoan, have been organising a new crowning ceremony. My hope is that, like always, the Crowning of Manta could mark the beginning of Vappu, while also bringing joy to the ‘Vappu at Home’ celebrations,” said Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.

In accordance with its traditions and values, the ArtSU wants to use the event as a platform to raise awareness about important social questions and to process them through art. In the same virtual environment, the ceremony then starts with a short interdisciplinary performance, which features a multi-lingual ode to nature, inspired by the climate crisis. A crew of the University of the Arts Helsinki students is responsible for the artistic planning and execution of the performance.

With the help of the virtual crowning ceremony, the University of the Arts Student Union would like to remind everyone to celebrate Vappu safely in the current exceptional circumstances.

“With the themes and programme of the event we want to promote the power of art, the beauty of nature, and the severity of the climate crisis that is still threatening our planet. By organising the ceremony differently, we would like to remind everyone, however, that it is still not safe to assemble, and in exceptional circumstances, we must approach even the dearest traditions from a different perspective. We hope that instead of flocking to the city centre or Ullanlinnanmäki, everybody would watch the ceremony and toast their glasses in their homes,” said ArtSU Chairperson Sofia Charifi.