The Graduation Party
High School Graduation Party " Ylioppilasjuhlat"
Before summertime starts, students graduate from their respective schools or finish a degree. After the basic education, students can choose to study in the upper secondary education by going to either vocational school or high school (known as lukio). Even though both guarantee an entry to higher education universities in Finland, finishing lukio, or the general academic studies, is more appreciated, hence its graduation is the most sought celebration before the summer vacation.
Invitation to the Graduation Party
Most Finnish celebrations, no matter how small they are, expect guests to reply latest on the RSVP or VP (vastausta pyydetään) date. Be polite and don't bring people who are not invited in the party even though they are your kids or parents. As a courtesy, ask and make sure first from the invitee that your extra guests can also come. If the invitee declines, don't get mad, it's their celebration after all, and they're the ones paying the costs, so they can invite only those people they want to come.
What to wear
The graduation party is a formal event where everyone is expected to wear a more festive yet appropriate clothing. If the party is celebrated in the house, take your shoes off. If you have also graduated and attending another graduate's event, it is polite to let her/him celebrate it by not wearing your hat in their party. Everyone can wear the hat in Mayday.
What to discuss
The graduate is the main star of the day, so be sure to congratulate with hugs and wishes. Talk about the celebrant and keep it in a positive way as much as possible. Sometimes, the school certificate is at the disposal of the guests but it is important not to ask after it if it is hidden. Other discussions to avoid are religion, health or mainly sickness, and money issues.
Graduation parties and kids events have a start and end schedule. As a guest, you should respect the schedule to be on time and leave on time. The time limit which is usually two hours. If you are a relative or a godmother/father, you can stay longer than the other guests. When the celebrants leave the party, take it as a cue that the party has ended.
When you go to a Finnish party, you should never be too hungry nor too full. Usually the invitation card will let you know what kind of food will be served in the party. It can be a coffee setting or a buffet setting. Graduation parties usually serve sparkling wines as welcome drinks.
The price of the gift isn't the most important, but the thought that comes with it. In Finland, people do not invite you to parties to expect gifts but to remember and celebrate with the celebrant. If you are a friend, a flower or other small gifts will do. If you are a relative, gift cards or money envelopes are usually good options.