For students in the Hervanta Campus of Tampere University this is a very important aspect, this is our student culture rich with community spirit and traditions, some of which stretch back to the end of the 19th century.
What is a Teekkari?
At the core, a Teekkari is a student who studies a field of technology at a university level. In Finland there are only six universities where Teekkaris exist, Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Lappeenranta, Vaasa, and Otaniemi. However, after the merging of the two universities in Tampere, University of Tampere(Central Campus) and Tampere University of Technology(Hervanta Campus), Lappeenranta University of Technology is the only remaining purely Teekkari university.
What is a fuksi?
A fuksi is a student in their first year of study at university in a field of technology, essentially a “freshman”. At the start of the year a fuksi will be given their fuksi passport containing a list of events and activities that they are recommended to complete, each event earns them a number of points, and they are to have a certain number of points before they can be baptised and become a fully fledged Teekkari after their first year of study. In Tampere a fuksi is expected to get a minimum of 270 points, and then at least 30 points during Wappu. Our baptism is done on Vappu, which is May 1st, a public holiday for everyone in Finland but special for Teekkaris as we gather in the centre of the city by Tammerkoski(channel of rapids), and the fuksis are placed in open metal baskets hoisted by cranes which proceed to dip them into the rapids and baptise them.
Each year, 2-3 Fuksi Captains are selected from each guild, as well as INTO and Urbanum. These Fuksi Captains are responsible for the new fuksis, and are there to help and guide them throughout the year, always free to ask them for help, whether it be for studies or social life.
Note that Fuksi Captains are the people that you will be getting your passports stamps from for guild events. They are easily recognisable by the red & white “fox tail” attached to their overalls.
Teekkarilakki (Teekkari Cap)
The most visible icon of a Teekkari is the Teekkari Cap. The tasseled cap was originally adopted from Sweden by students of Technology towards the end of the 19th century.
Tampere Teekkaris put their cap on on the night of the 30th of April when the Suomen neito(Maiden of Finland) statue also receives a cap. The cap may be used freely in the summer until it is laid to winter rest on the 30th of September. In the winter, the cap may only be used with special permission. The teekkari cap is an almost holy object to teekkaris. However, it is not intended to be kept on the shelf but to be used frequently and with dignity.
Teekkarihaalarit (Teekkari Overalls)
Overalls are a symbol for students in different universities and other schools in Finland. By the colour and text in the overalls, you can identify people from different schools and fields of study. From attending different events or doing different activities throughout the year you can earn patches which you can then sew on to your overalls, it is nice to show what you have done during your studies, and also be able to see what others have done.
Most fuksis will get their overalls at the start of the second semester with the exception of a few guilds who receive theirs at the start of the academic year.
Colours of guild overalls in Hervanta:
“Autek” Automation Technology Guild: Yellow
“Bioner” Bioengineering Guild: Champagne Gold
“Hiukkanen” Science & Engineering Guild: Purple
“Indecs” Industrial Engineering & Management Guild: White
“INTO” International & Exchange Students: Bright Green
“KoRK” Mechanical Engineering Guild: Red
“Man@ger” Information & Knowledge Management Guild: Grey
“MiK” Materials Engineering Guild: Burgundy
“Skilta” Electrical Engineering Guild: Electric Blue
“TamArk” Architectural Guild: Cheery Black
“TARAKI” Civil Engineering Guild: Dark Blue
“TiTe” Information Technology Guild: Black
“YKI” Environmental & Energy Engineering Guild: Dark Green
A guild is the organisation of a faculty or study field You don’t have to be a part of it but the guild offers many services and events so you might want to join! The guild’s board runs the day-to-day, and it’s made of a bunch of volunteers. The guild also offers a guildroom, your own “living room” on the campus. For example, INTO’s room is PCD00D1 in the basement of the Main Building (Päärakennus), and we have free coffee available for all members.
A couple of times a year, teekkaris dress up and celebrate at annual galas. The annual gala dress code is black tie or dark suit for men and full-length evening gown for women and academic decorations.
Party etiquette is observed at annual galas. However, the idea is not to be stiff and stuffy but to have a fun evening. Before the main event there is a cocktail reception for invited guests during which various groups and entities honour the organising body by presenting traditionally large, heavy and useless gifts. However, most of the guests do not arrive until the main event. The welcome drink is followed by the dinner during which loud schnapps songs are sung. Various speeches are given between courses. Coffee and digestive are followed by dance which continues in the after-party often followed by another after-party at dawn complete with sauna. The grandest affairs end in brunch the following morning.
Sitsit is a smaller and less formal occasion. They are organised by guilds and clubs both in celebration of their anniversaries and fun theme sitsis. The dress code at sitsis is smart casual, no black tie necessary. Men wear pressed trousers and a jacket, although a dark suit would not necessarily go amiss at anniversary sitsis. Women can wear a trouser suit or skirt/dress of any length. Theme sitsis obviously call for theme attire.
The Tampere sitsi tradition includes good food, abundant drink and plenty of singing. A buffet is often served at sitsis and depending on the occasion or theme, programme numbers, speeches, gift-giving and even dance, if it’s an anniversary, may occur amid dining. This party does not end before sunrise. Freshmen get to practice sitsis at special fuksi sitsis in the autumn and spring.
At universities, an excursion (a.k.a. excu or XQ) means a company visit or a study trip somewhere close or far. The shortest excursions are just a couple hour visits to a company within the student’s own field, or a fun trip to for example a candy factory. Different company visits are quite commonly arranged throughout the year for all different fields of study. The longer excursions can take you to the other side of the world.
The Teekkari Wappu in Tampere begins with the unveiling of the Tamppi magazine and lasts about two weeks. Wappu culminates in traditional events, the biggest and most visible of which include putting the cap on the Suomen neito (Finnish maiden) statue and the teekkari baptism ritual in the Tammerkoski rapids.
All the fuksis in Tampere have been through Teekkari Dipping from the beginning of days. It started out as a random idea, but as years have passed and more people are taking part, it is a major Wappu event in Tampere nowadays.
In 1966 fuksis of the guild of electrical engineering got the idea to build a huge basket in which the Teekkaris could be dipped. The basket was named Amontillado and the first fuksis were dipped.
The Teekkari Dipping is the highlight of Wappu and the most visible part of Teekkari culture in Tampere. Fuksis can call themselves Teekkaris not until they have been dipped in Tammerkoski.
Lakitus will be done on the night between the 30th of April and the 1st of May, right after midnight. this is the time when you are allowed to put your Teekkari cap on your head for the first time this year. Teekkari caps will be put on at the same time as the cap will be put on the statue. After this, if you don’t want to get wet, watch out for the sparkles!
The Teekkari hymn is also sung during the capping. In the first verse the cap is held on the right shoulder, in the second verse the cap will be raised high in the air and in the beginning of the third verse the cap can be worn.
A jaynä is a prank or practical joke played on unsuspecting people, often on people that are not students. It has been a part of Teekkari culture for many decades. People often ask how to manage a successful or even perfect jäynä. The definition of a good jäynä and a recipe for success are not only boring but also impossible to give. A Teekkari jäynä lives in the present, and what’s funny today may not have been decades earlier.
Creating jäynäs is fun but the person making them should be careful in the planning stages to avoid any problems. Jäynä may not be in any way illegal or cause any legal actions. It is also worth remembering that not everyone will share your sense of humour.
The fuksi category is a big and important part of the Tampere jäynä competition even though time-wise it is only a fraction of the competition. The fuksi category defines the order in which guilds are dipped in the Tammerkoski rapids! The fuksi category is a two-week effort before and during Wappu.
Härweli and fuksi parade
The fuksi parade starts from Sorinaukio and ends to Koskenranta. It marks the start of queuing to the dipping. Fuksis are organized by guilds, and they carry or push their Härweli. Härweli is something, and anything, self-made that is somehow funny, current or teekkari related. Best Härwelis are rewarded. During the parade there is also a competition of making the most noise, so fuksis are singing sitsis songs or shouting different cheers as loud as possible.