Palm Sunday – Palmusunnuntai

Winter is still gripping Finland, but the snow is starting to melt away… Nature is coming to life again.

Did you notice the little witches wandering in your backyard today, chanting  cheerful melodies? And they came knocking to your door performing a strange ritual.  Dear Reader, it is because of Palm Sunday or Palmusunnuntai.

On this day kids go dressed up  as witches or bunnies, and go around and visit their neighbours, carrying these little wands made out of pajunoksa(willow twigs), decorated with  feathers and colourful pieces of paper in the shape of flowers.




What the children do is called ‘virpominen’. The children go in front of the host’s doorstep and start chanting the following verse:

Virvon varvon,



tulevaks vuodeks,

vitsa sulle,

palkka mulle

I wave a twig for a fresh and healthy year ahead;

a twig for you, a treat for me!

After chanting the verse, the children give the pajunoksa to the host, and the host in return gives them chocolate eggs or some other treat.

Children doing 'virpoa'Photo credits: Visit Finland ©

Children doing ‘virpoa’
Photo credits: Visit Finland ©

The custom is a mix of two influences: Russian, where  as the birch twigs  represent the palms layed down when Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and another tradition, this time Swedish where as the witches drove away evil on Palm Sunday. Basically it has to do with the long wait for spring.

There is a similar custom back at home in Macedonia, it is called ‘Запоткa‘,  quite similar to this,also announcing the arrival  of spring.

As Easter approaches, every Finnish household plant some seeds of grass in a shallow container,  eagerly awaiting for them to sprout thus announcing the arrival of spring.

Tiny grass sprouts in my host family's house.

Tiny grass sprouts in my host family’s house.


Did a bunch of witches appear at your doorstep? Do not chase them away, they will virvoa you 😉  Dear Finnfanatics, spring is just around the corner. It is the season when our lovely maiden in the North comes back to life. It was about time!

Minä rakastan kevät!




Finnish Person of the Day #2



The person of the day is Michael Agricola!




Today, along with Easter, Finns celebrate Monday as the day of the birth of  their language,as a literary written language.

Michael Agricola is the ‘father’ of Finnish as it is nowadays.