This year Havis Amanda event will be virtual.

University of the Arts Student Union to crown Havis Amanda in virtual reality

On this Vappu, 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 on the Market Square is not possible this time due to the coronavirus, but the Student Union will still want bring joy to everyone’s Vappu celebrations by organising it in an alternative way, allowing everyone to follow it safely from their homes.

Conducted in cooperation with the City of Helsinki and 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 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 of Helsinki 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,” says Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki.

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. Their contact information can be seen below.

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”, says Sofia Charifi, the Chairperson of the Student Union.

Music - Aukusti Arjas (incl. remixes of tracks Skállovárri, Beaivvi mánát and Vildaluodda by VILDÁ)
Performers - Matleena Kohonen, Saara Lampela, Eugenie van der Meulen, Sara-Maria Pirhonen
Artistic planning - Sofia Charifi (artistic execution) and Terhi Hartikainen, Veera Isotalo, Eeva Rajakangas, Oskari Ruuska, Maria Valkeavuolle
Production - Sini Kaartinen, Ville Sinnemäki

Havis Amanda receives her cap every year on May Day Eve, with the student unions of the Capital Region (AYY, HYY, SHS and ArtSU) alternating in charge of it. The crowning tradition has continued in its current form since 1951, but, depending on the source, Manta has been receiving her cap unofficially for about 100 years. As recently as the 1970s, Manta was crowned at midnight just as the month was changing.

The University of the Arts Student Union (ArtSU) is the community and interest and service organisation for all the about 1,800 students at Uniarts Helsinki. The University of the Arts Student Union was established on 1 January 2013 when the Student Unions of the Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy and Theatre Academy merged together.