Sitsit is a traditional part of Finnish student culture, often associated with university student organizations and fraternities. The word “sitsit” comes from the Swedish term “sittning,” which means a formal dinner or banquet. Sitsit events are known for their unique rituals, traditional songs, and lively, festive atmosphere.
I have participated in 2 sitsits, one for welcoming the new term, and another for celebrating Wappu (May Day). We gathered in a wooden cabin on campus which is called Smökki, take a drink, and take a seat when the song leaders start the event.
Everyone is given a songbook that includes all songs that may be sung today. The song leaders usually start by telling a story, which is related to a song in the songbook, and then everyone will sing that song together. After that, we greet people sitting next to us and drink some alcoholic beverages, such as beer and schnapps. These songs have been passed down through generations of students and often have humorous or sentimental lyrics. There are even campaigns for song writings organized by student organizations.
Students usually wear overalls to the events. Overall plays a prominent role in fostering a sense of identity, pride, and belonging in Finnish student culture. Different student organizations and fields of study have their own colors and designs, and we can decorate overalls with patches, emblems, and badges representing personal achievements, etc.
Sitsit is not only about singing and drinking; it is also an opportunity for socializing, networking, and building camaraderie among students. The event fosters a sense of belonging and pride within the student community, allowing individuals to connect with peers from different disciplines and backgrounds.