1st Blog: When they make you sing in their language

Barely 24 hours in Finland, I first got in touch with Teekkari. Back then I wasn´t aware of its scale. It was just a first get together with some new exchange students as well as Finns. At midnight they made us sing a specific finnish song – the Teekkarihymni. A tradition at midnight. Basically, the whole student culture and life in Finland is based on Teekkari. There are rules to observe, tasks to full fill and traditions to follow. It is a lot about community spirit. But most important: everyone is working towards Wappu. It’s the event of the year when the whole city will be celebrating for two weeks. The festival reaches its climax on the night of May 1st, shortly after midnight, when a large Teekkari cap is placed on the head of Suomen neito (Finnish Virgin), a statue on the Hämeensilta Bridge. The highlight is the Dipping or call it the baptism to become an official Teekkari.


A Teekkari, that´s a student of technology. All over Finland, students are part of it. You start as a fuksi, as a freshman or new exchange student. You will be handed your fuksipassi. That passport will guide you through your first year by collecting points getting to know the secrets of Teekkari life. To earn the dipping into the Tammerkoski rapids, you need to collect enough points in your fuksipassi. Collecting points is surprisingly easy as there are plenty of events to choose from, especially on the party front, in other leisure time activities and in studies.

However, what else is typical for Teekkari culture? How can you spot a Teekkari?


The student overall is a student party wear especially popularized by Teekkari students. Students of the different faculties of the universities can be recognized by the colour of the overall. On the overalls there is usually the logo of the university or the student council, sponsor imprints and patches. By participating in events, you can earn the patches. The more you have sewed on your overall, the better. Talking about events – singing culture is a big thing over here. They have even got their own song book – the Rasputin. There are Sitsit, Laulusauna´s (singing sauna) or other get togethers of the different gilds. But no matter the event, there will be always singing included!


Sitsit for example is an academic table celebration where they eat, sing (drinking) songs and hold speeches. There are strict rules to be followed such as cheering at the right time and in the right way. Then of course sauna. Being in Finland for a couple of weeks now, I realized how important sauna is for the whole of this country. You will find sauna´s in almost every household. Finnish people see it as a standard facility everyone has a right to have and use. There are public ones and private ones. In the city or the middle of nowhere. Ones with fire, electrical ones or even smoke saunas. A place to experience löyly – the feeling when the heat and steam in the sauna hits you. There are also couple of saunas around the university campus. And, even more important, the Teekkarisauna. It is a place to sing, party and experience löyly yourself.


What else? There is also kyykkä, an outdoor game, preferably played in snow. The basic idea of the game is to knock kyykkä´s (small wooden cylinders) out of your own game-square by throwing a karttu (stick, resembling baseball bat). Each year there is even a world-championship of kyykkä held on our campus. But well, since it is only being played in Finland, it´s more like a national championship.


I hope I caught the most important aspects of Teekkari culture and its meaning to studying

technology. However, it is impossible to verbally explain everything about the Teekkari culture – you simply have to live it!


Julia Franziska Beck