April Symphony

In the springtime, there is a lot going on:

  • Easter
  • April Fools’ Day (April 1st)
  • The birthday of yours truly
  • Walpurgis Night and May Day (April 30th and May 1st, respectively)
  • Awakening of nature — pollen
  • Talkoo


The festivities are usually in the month of april; this year (2013) Easter is in the end of march.

The date when easter occure varies from year to year.

There is no simple rule how to figure out when easter is.

It seems that it has been created on purpose as difficultly it can ever be.

Mini holiday — Good Friday and Easter Monday off from work as they’re concider as holidays in the christian part of the world.

April Fools’ Day

The origins of April Fools Day are not clear but it is known that the tradition of practical joking and mischief-making dates back to Ancient Roman times.

It would appear that the festival is closely related to the coming of Spring.

Many variations existed in the old days, for example, the social order is temporarily inverted: servants might get to order around masters, or children challenge the authority of parents and teachers.

Ancient Romans and Celts celebrated a festival of practical joking at about the time of the Vernal Equinox, as do millions of India’s Hindus.

The French also mark 1 April but instead of April Fools they call it Poisson d’Avril (April Fish).

The birthday of yours truly

The fourth of april

Walpurgis Night and May Day

The Vappu (Valborg or Valborgsmässoafton in swedish) tradition reaches back hundreds or thousands of years. Naturally, this is connected to the old paganic ways when the finns of old times wanted to make the bad spirits go away.

At Vappu, the cattle were often let out of their barns for the first time after the winter.

Today, the vappu bonfires are rarities, and here in Helsinki the celebration is done differently.

The capping of the statue Havis Amanda is the start of the celebration; tens of thousands gather at the market square. The capping business is taken care of students from various schools and universities; the cap in 2012 was made of recycled material.

The next day, May 1st, is in many cases a sorry business with serious hangover and such.

For quite a lot, the tradition calls them to have a pic-nic in the park. The “must” beverage is mead, and you’re supposed to eat a kind of funnel cake “Tippaleipä” and eat Munkki-donuts

Awakening of nature

The nature wakes up, the trees dispense the pollen. Allergic people say thank you.

When spring arrives, the snow and ice melt away. The only winter-ish ingredient of the winter cocktail the sand and dust flying around in the wind. People complain.

And all the trash revealed in the snow is revealed. Dog poop. Cigarette butts. People complain.

You need to switch tires under your car. Get new tires, 400 euro bye-bye and I complain…


The english language know no good translation for the word Talkoo.

Generally put, it’s a type of volontary work, to help others in need of help, or to do someting for a common good.

This Talkoo thing is actually not completely volontary, as there is usually a degree of social pressure involved in the Talkoo business — you are supposed to participate to the extent of your capabilities. You need to have a perfectly good explanation figured out if you can’t (or won’t) participate.

As a Talkoo worker, you won’t get paid, but you should expect to be served something to eat or some beverages will be available, soft drinks or perhaps some beer. The tab is picked up by the host/hostess of the Talkoo event.

There is even a special Talkoo insurance policy available.

A typical Talkoo chore at springtime is to clean up the surroundings of the housing where you live.


Springtime has arrived. Let’s join in.

This is an outline for a Toastmaster speech I delivered on april 1st 2013. Competent Communication project #2. My home Toastmasters club is Stadi Talkers (Helsinki, Finland). For more information regarding Toastmasters, visit the Toastmaster International website at http://www.toastmasters.org/


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