Happy May Day! Hauskaa Vappua!

May Day or Vappu in Finland is a celebration of spring. In the past it has had a stronger association with the blue collar workers, their demonstrations and speeches on behalf of their rights. Today the festivities have become more carnival and street party-like with paper streamers, silly string, balloons and picnic brunches. Students across the country place the gradution cap on statues. The capping of the Havis Amanda statue in Helsinki draws thousands of spectators. I was there watching one year amongst the thousands and as the capping had been completed the crowd just swept me with it as it left the area.
Blowing balloons

Since it is a day off for the whole nation it has become a national party day. Everyone can pick and choose which traditions they wish to carry on. Our family celebrates it in a fairly low key manner. Sometimes we have hosted a barbeque, sometimes we just take it easy and enjoy homemade donuts and sima. Sima is a fizzy lemonade made with brown sugar, lemon juice and a little bit of yeast.
Recipe for Sima (taken from the side of our brown sugar package)

4 l/4.2 qts water
250 g/8.8 oz brown sugar
250 g/8.8 oz sugar
juice of 1-2 lemons
1/5 tsp of fresh yeast (about the size of a pea)

Boil half of the water and pour it over the sugars and stir. Add the rest of the water (cool water) and allow to cool to a luke warm. Dissolve the yeast in a small amount of liquid and add it to the Sima. Allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Bottle the sima, adding a teaspoon of sugar and a few raisins in each bottle. Do not tighten the bottle lids tightly as it will produce gas. The sima is ready for use when the raisins have risen to the surface. If the bottles are kept at room temperature the process takes about three days, in the refrigerator it takes about a week.

When it is ready I have tightened the lid and placed in the refrigerator. Enjoy cold with fresh donuts. For a more darker Sima, double the amount of brown sugar and leave out the sugar.


For the Vappu donuts, I use the pulla dough recipe. After the dough has risen, I make little balls and then punch holes through the middle. Fry them in canola oil making sure that the oil is not too hot so that the donut has time to cook on the inside. Sugar immediately.

frying donuts
sugared donuts

erik and balloon


    1. Children often become pre-teens all too quick, it is nice if they don’t have to rush into the adult world. They will have the rest of their lives to be adults 🙂

    1. Thank you! It was a perfectly relaxing day with the sun shining brightly and in the evening we packed the kids in the car and went on a little spontaneous car ride and visited some friends.

  1. Yummy!! I will be trying these donuts for sure 🙂 Just came to check out your blog… Looks like I will have lots of reading/baking to do now! Very fun blog!

  2. Happy May Day! What a lovely post, the Sima sounds delicious I must try it, so interesting that it’s done when the raisins float to the top, how cool and doughnuts are always one of my favorite treats. Yours turned out beautifully!

  3. May 1 is a public holiday too in Italy. What a wonderful post. Sims must taste great. I’m a huge fun of the lemon sourness. And the donuts? Gorgeous. They resemble to a pastry we have in Italy. My daughter is crazy about it. Your recipe is going to my to-try list. 🙂

    1. Sima is quite delicious, we just finished the last of it off after our sauna last night. Let me know how it works out if your have a chance to try it!

  4. What a wonderful way to celebrate the first of May! I’m so very glad I found your blog. This all looks lovely (especially the freshly fried doughnuts). Thank you for sharing!

  5. I’ve just learn about sima…so new to me. And your doughnuts look so good! Im hungry. Mayday over here is just another rest day from work. A celebration for spring sound so lovely! 🙂

  6. This donut recipe will go to my pinterest board. For now, I dream of making it.

    That sima sounds cool to make. I think the children will have fun checking out for when the raisins come up. 🙂

  7. Happy May Day! And what lovely treats!!! We celebrated Valborg in Sweden… it’s not traditional, but we ate caramel popcorn as the bonfire was lit 🙂

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