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Today is St. Walburga’s Eve, better known as Walpurgisnacht. It’s a holiday that’s retained a whiff — heck, a whole snootful — of paganism despite honoring a Teutonic Christian saint.

In Finland, it’s Vappu, one of the four biggest holidays of the year. On Vappu, you party and drink sima, a homemade low-alcohol mead that sounds suspiciously like prison hooch.

Neighbor J is Finnish. Tonight she’s taking me to a Vappu celebration. Its promoters emphasize the Christian nature of the day. Yet they’ve chosen to feature a showing of the original Wicker Man — which as I recall ends up pretty much pagans 1, Christians O. (But that’s okay because the pagans are still scary and ludicrously evil and it’s a campy old Christopher Lee flick and “the Citizen Kane of horror movies.”)

All this takes place far away and Past My Bedtime, which is going to be even worse than usual because I’ve been awake since the cat got up to no good in the middle of the night. Napping is futile. I’ve entered the stage of buzzy hyperactivity and too-tired-to-restness.

Should be an interesting night. I’ve told J. she’s driving because I’m pretty sure Driving While Stupid is a crime.


  1. Pat
    Pat April 30, 2018 4:05 pm

    Vappu… Had to look that one up; I’d never heard of it.

    You’ll probably get so involved you won’t even feel tired (until morning).

    Wikipedia says:
    “Expanding from the parties of the left, the whole of the Finnish political scene has adopted Vappu as the day to go out on stumps and agitate.”

    So, Claire – go thou and agitate! And monkey-wrench while you’re at it.

  2. coloradohermit
    coloradohermit April 30, 2018 5:04 pm

    Have fun!

  3. ~Qjay
    ~Qjay April 30, 2018 5:12 pm

    Sounds like a blast! I’ll have to make some sima sometime… Too much alliteration… not enough obliteration! 🙂

    Have a great time!

    Hey… If it’s lemony, do you think it’s what they named Zima after?

  4. Why
    Why April 30, 2018 10:50 pm

    Folk Horror (of which The Wicker Man is the prime example) is an interesting sub genre.

    Making a bit of a comeback now, it’s high point was English films of the 1970’s.

    The BBC was a legit player.

    I’ve an obscure Finnish essay on it somewhere if you’re interested.

  5. Claire
    Claire May 1, 2018 9:28 am

    Well, it was a small crowd and not a wild one (Finns; they’re stolid). But The Wicker Man was better than I remembered.

    The sima was tasty, though the more experienced people at the event, including the woman who made it, said it was really a couple of weeks from being at its best. It was served with Tippaleipä, the Finnish equivalent of a funnel cake — but much better IMHO.

    Funny, though. Most of the people present had no idea that The Wicker Man was a camp classic horror film and their reactions ranged from “that was dopey” to being seriously shaken. The hostess even apologized to me for the movie being “too scary.”

    I just thought it was better acted and more beautifully filmed than I remembered. The ending is quite a shock if you don’t already know what’s coming.

    And Why, I didn’t know that about folk horror — though I can absolutely see TWM as being the top of its 1970s form. Definitely if you find that essay, post a link to it.

  6. fred
    fred May 1, 2018 10:54 am

    Well,if the film is THAT good,i will check it out.The horror genre isnt my cup of tea,but still,if its great we must see it,right?

  7. Claire
    Claire May 1, 2018 11:35 am

    fred — Horror movies definitely aren’t my genre, either. Fortunately, The Wicker Man in no way a typical horror movie. No gore. No monsters. No cheap scares. It’s more a suspense thriller with supernatural elements. Still might not be everybody’s cup of tea, though.

    BTW, this is the 1973 Wicker Man with Christopher Lee. There was a remake in 2006 with Nicholas Cage, which nobody bothered to see.

  8. Why
    Why May 2, 2018 8:57 am

    Re the essay:

    It’s copy pasta’d into an email.

    I’ll forward it.

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