Finnish Traditions: Crayfish parties
Last week our Finnish founders celebrated their first American Thanksgiving and cooked their first turkey. In the middle of all these American traditions we decided it is time to share a Finnish tradition with our American friends.
Crayfish party (In Finnish: Rapujuhla) is a traditional late summer / early fall celebration in the Nordic countries. Crayfish parties are normally held during or after the crayfish harvest time, which starts in the end of July and ends in the late October.
Crayfish parties often take place in summer cottages, where friends and family are invited to enjoy the crayfish caught during the harvest season and to have a good time. Crayfish party has many dimensions but the main event is usually the eating of crayfish and it can be considered a dinner party. The table is usually set outdoors, depending on the weather. Customary party accessories for all guests are red clothes, funny hats and crayfish themed bibs and tablecloths.
Crayfish parties are also distinguished for heavy alcohol consumption and traditional drinking songs (snapsilaulu). Singing drinking songs is considered mandatory, and so is drinking shots of vodka after every song. Between shots, long drinks and wine is served. The crayfish are boiled in salt water and seasoned with dill – then served cold and eaten on top of bread with lots of butter.