Restaurant Day in Helsinki

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= Restaurant Day (‘Ravintolapäivä’): Fostering Crosscultural Gatherings Through Shared Meals in Helsinki, Finland and elswhere



By Khushboo Balwani:

"In most cities, people of many different cultures live in close proximity to one another. However, there is often not many opportunities for them to intermingle and experience the diverse traditions of their local community. In an effort to bring people together and foster cross-cultural interaction, local organizers in Helsinki, Finland, created “Ravintolapäivä,” or Restaurant Day. Innitiated in 2011, it began as a food carnival where anyone with a passion for food was encouraged to run a “restaurant” in their private home or in public spaces for a single day. Even though the pop-up restaurants charge money for the meals, the emphasis is not on profit, but rather on community teamwork and cultural exchange. During the event, Helsinki is transformed by hundreds of these informal restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines in this citywide street festival. The event is put on through distributed organization – individual volunteer restaurateurs are responsible for finding a location, managing the menu and invitations, and setting the meal prices. Now, Restaurant Day has become a global movement, with over 27,000 pop-up restaurants having served over 3 million community members across 75 countries." (