Dive into the enchanting world of Kalevala Day in Finland. Explore the cultural wonders, traditions, and celebrations that make this day truly magical.
- Date: February 28th
- Main Components: Flag-raising, parades, readings, and performances of the Kalevala
- Popularity: One of the most important cultural events in Finland
- Pairings: Finnish music, art, and literature inspired by the Kalevala
- Variations: Different regions and communities may have their own ways of celebrating the Kalevala
What is the Kalevala and why is it important for Finland and its culture? How did Elias Lönnrot collect and compile the folk poems that make up the Kalevala? What are the main themes and characters of the Kalevala? How has the Kalevala influenced other art forms and literature?
These are some of the questions that this article will try to answer, as we explore the significance and legacy of the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, and how it is celebrated every year on February 28, the Kalevala Day, also known as the Finnish Culture Day.
The Kalevala is a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology. It is regarded as the national epic of Finland and Karelia and is one of the most significant works of Finnic literature. The Kalevala tells the stories and spells of mythical heroes and heroines, such as Väinämöinen, the wise and powerful singer; Ilmarinen, the skillful artificer-smith; Lemminkäinen, the adventurous and reckless warrior; and Aino, the beautiful and tragic maiden.
The Kalevala is not only a source of national pride and identity for the Finns, but also a catalyst for the development of Finnish language, literature, art, music, and education. The Kalevala has inspired many famous artists, such as the composer Jean Sibelius, the painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela, and the author J.R.R. Tolkien. The Kalevala has also been translated into more than 60 languages and is Finland’s most translated work of literature.
The Kalevala Day is an official flag-raising day in Finland, and simultaneously the Day of Finnish culture. It is celebrated each 28 February in honor of the date on which the Old Kalevala’s foreword was dated by Lönnrot in 1835. The Kalevala Day is a day to commemorate and appreciate the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Finland, as well as to promote and support the Finnish language and literature. The Kalevala Day is marked by various events, such as parades, readings, and performances of the Kalevala, as well as exhibitions, concerts, and lectures related to the Kalevala and Finnish culture.
The Origin and Development of the Kalevala
The historical and linguistic background of the Finnic peoples and their oral tradition The role of the rune singers and the kalevala meter in preserving and transmitting the folk poetry The first attempts to collect and publish the folk poems by Mikael Agricola, Heinrich Stahl, and others The expeditions and efforts of Elias Lönnrot to gather, edit, and publish the Kalevala
The Kalevala is based on the oral tradition of the Finnic peoples, who inhabit the regions around the Baltic Sea, such as Finland, Karelia, Estonia, and Ingria. The Finnic peoples belong to the Uralic language family, which is distinct from the Indo-European languages spoken by most Europeans. The Finnic languages have a long and complex history, influenced by various contacts and migrations with other peoples, such as the Scandinavians, the Germans, the Slavs, and the Turks.
The oral tradition of the Finnic peoples consists of various genres of folk poetry, such as short ballads, lyric poems, and mythology. These poems were sung or recited aloud using the kalevala meter, a form of trochaic tetrameter, which is a rhythmic pattern of four stressed and unstressed syllables in each line. The kalevala meter is an ancient technique used to memorize long stories without losing important words and content. The kalevala meter is also flexible and adaptable, allowing the singers to improvise and vary the poems according to the situation and audience.
The singers of the folk poetry were called rune singers, and they were the most respected and celebrated members of Finnic society. They could sing for days without stopping, and wherever they visited, they were always offered the best seat in the house. The rune singers were the keepers of the collective memory and wisdom of the Finnic peoples, and they passed on their knowledge and skills to the next generations. The rune singers were also the mediators between the human and the supernatural worlds, as they invoked the deities and spirits with their songs and spells.
The folk poetry of the Finnic peoples was not written down until the 16th century, when the first attempts to collect and publish the poems were made by Mikael Agricola, the Finnish reformer and the father of Finnish written language, and Heinrich Stahl, a German pastor and linguist. However, these early collections were incomplete and inaccurate, as they did not capture the oral nature and musicality of the poems. Moreover, the folk poetry tradition started to decline and disappear after the Finnic peoples learned to read and write, and were exposed to other forms of literature and culture.
The person who revived and preserved the folk poetry tradition was Elias Lönnrot, a Finnish physician, philologist, and poet. He was fascinated by the Finnic oral culture and dedicated his life to collecting, editing, and publishing the folk poems. He made several expeditions to the rural areas of Finland, Karelia, and Estonia, where he interviewed hundreds of rune singers and recorded their songs. He also studied the existing manuscripts and publications of the folk poems, and compared and analyzed them. He then compiled and arranged the poems into a coherent and unified epic, which he named the Kalevala, meaning “the land of Kaleva”, a mythical realm where the poems take place.
Lönnrot published the first edition of the Kalevala in 1835, which consisted of 32 poems and 12,078 verses. He called it the Old Kalevala, and it was based on the folk poems of the western dialects of Finnish. He continued to collect more poems and revised his work, and published the second and final edition of the Kalevala in 1849, which consisted of 50 poems and 22,795 verses. He called it the New Kalevala, and it was based on the folk poems of both the western and eastern dialects of Finnish and Karelian. The New Kalevala is the version that is widely read and recognized today.
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The Content and Structure of the Kalevala
The creation myth and the cosmology of the Kalevala The main cycles and episodes of the Kalevala, such as the Sampo, the Kullervo, and the Marjatta The main characters and their personalities, abilities, and relationships The poetic devices and techniques used in the Kalevala, such as alliteration, parallelism, and repetition
The Kalevala begins with a creation myth, in which the world is formed from the fragments of an egg laid by a primordial water bird. The first poem describes how the goddess of the air, Ilmatar, descends to the waters and becomes impregnated by the wind. She gives birth to Väinämöinen, the first man and the eternal sage, who is the main protagonist of the epic. Väinämöinen is a master of song and magic, and he creates many things with his words, such as the kantele, a traditional Finnish string instrument. He is also involved in many adventures and conflicts with other characters, such as his rival Joukahainen, his brother Ilmarinen, and his enemy Louhi, the mistress of the north.
The Kalevala is divided into 50 poems, which can be grouped into several cycles and episodes, each focusing on a different theme or character. Some of the most famous and important cycles and episodes are:
- The Sampo: The Sampo is a magical artifact that produces wealth and prosperity. It is forged by Ilmarinen, the artificer-smith, as a bride-price for the daughter of Louhi. However, Louhi reneges on her promise and keeps the Sampo for herself. Väinämöinen, Ilmarinen, and Lemminkäinen, the reckless warrior, decide to steal the Sampo from Louhi’s stronghold. They succeed, but Louhi pursues them and a fierce battle ensues. The Sampo is broken and its pieces are scattered in the sea, where they still bring good fortune to the Finns.
- The Kullervo: Kullervo is a tragic anti-hero, who is born with a curse and a thirst for revenge. He is sold into slavery by his uncle Untamo, who killed his father and most of his family. He escapes and returns to his home, where he finds his mother and his twin sister. He unknowingly seduces his sister, who kills herself in shame. He then kills Untamo and his people, and finally himself, after asking his sword if it will take his life.
- The Marjatta: Marjatta is a virgin who becomes pregnant after eating a lingonberry. She gives birth to a son, who is rejected by Väinämöinen as the king of Karelia, because he doubts his origin. The son, however, proves his worth by performing miracles and answering Väinämöinen’s riddles.He is then crowned as the new king of Karelia, and Väinämöinen departs from the land, leaving his kantele and his songs to his people.The Kalevala is rich in poetic devices and techniques, such as alliteration, parallelism, and repetition. These devices enhance the musicality and memorability of the poems, as well as create various effects, such as emphasis, contrast, and parallelism. For example, the Kalevala often uses alliteration, the repetition of the same sound at the beginning of words, to create a rhythmic and harmonious sound, such as “Vaka vanha Väinämöinen” (Steady old Väinämöinen). The Kalevala also uses parallelism, the repetition of the same grammatical structure or idea, to create a sense of balance and symmetry, such as “Sanoi päivän, sanoi toisen, / Sanoi kohta kolmannenkin” (He said one day, he said another, / He said soon the third as well). The Kalevala also uses repetition, the repetition of the same word or phrase, to create a sense of emphasis and continuity, such as “Itkeä hyryytteli, / Hyryytteli, voivotteli” (He sobbed and sobbed, / Sobbed and lamented).
The Reception and Legacy of the Kalevala
The impact of the Kalevala on the Finnish national identity and independence movement The influence of the Kalevala on the Finnish language, literature, and education The adaptation and interpretation of the Kalevala in various art forms, such as music, painting, and graphic novels The translation and dissemination of the Kalevala in other languages and cultures
The Kalevala had a profound impact on the Finnish national identity and independence movement, especially in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when Finland was under the rule of the Russian Empire. The Kalevala gave the Finns a sense of pride and unity, as well as a source of inspiration and resistance. The Kalevala also contributed to the establishment of Finnish as a national language, which was previously considered a peasant dialect by the Swedish and Russian elites. The Kalevala also fostered a sense of cultural and historical continuity, as well as a connection to the ancient and mythical past of the Finnic peoples.
The Kalevala also influenced the Finnish language, literature, and education, as it became a model and a standard for the development and enrichment of the Finnish language and literature. The Kalevala also became a part of the Finnish school curriculum, and was taught and read by generations of Finnish pupils and students. The Kalevala also stimulated the creation of new literary works, both in Finnish and in other languages, that were inspired by or based on the Kalevala. Some of the most notable examples are the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, who was influenced by the Kalevala in creating his own mythology and languages for his fantasy novels, such as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; and the works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who used the kalevala meter in his epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, which tells the story of a Native American hero.
The Kalevala also inspired many artists to adapt and interpret the Kalevala in various art forms, such as music, painting, and graphic novels. Some of the most famous examples are the works of Jean Sibelius, who composed several symphonic poems and operas based on the Kalevala, such as Finlandia, Kullervo, and The Swan of Tuonela; the works of Akseli Gallen-Kallela, who painted several scenes and characters from the Kalevala, such as The Defense of the Sampo, The Aino Triptych, and Lemminkäinen’s Mother; and the works of Mauri Kunnas, who created a humorous and modern version of the Kalevala, called the Canine Kalevala, in which the characters are portrayed as dogs.
The Kalevala also reached a wide and diverse audience through its translation and dissemination in other languages and cultures. The Kalevala has been translated into more than 60 languages, including English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic. The Kalevala has also been adapted and retold in different cultural contexts, such as the Estonian epic Kalevipoeg, the Celtic epic The Children of Hurin, and the science fiction novel The Star Rover. The Kalevala has also been compared and contrasted with other epics and mythologies, such as the Greek Iliad and Odyssey, the Roman Aeneid, the Norse Edda, the German Nibelungenlied, and the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf.
KALEVALA DAY IN FINLAND WISHES, QUOTES, AND MESSAGES
TOP 20 KALEVALA DAY IN FINLAND WISHES AND GREETINGS
Here are 20 unique Kalevala Day wishes and greetings for Finland:
- “Happy Kalevala Day! May the spirit of Finnish folklore inspire you with creativity, wisdom, and the magic of storytelling.”
- “Warm wishes on Kalevala Day! Let the ancient verses of Kalevala weave joy, inspiration, and cultural pride into your day.”
- “On this Kalevala Day, embrace the poetic beauty of Finnish heritage. Wishing you a day filled with enchanting tales and meaningful connections.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! May the echoes of Väinämöinen’s songs bring harmony, prosperity, and cultural richness to your life.”
- “Wishing you a joyful Kalevala Day! May the epic tales of heroes and the magic of runes inspire your journey with strength and wisdom.”
- “On Kalevala Day, may the mythical spirits of Finland guide you towards happiness, prosperity, and a deeper connection to your roots.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! Let the wisdom of the ancient runes and the spirit of Finnish folklore illuminate your path with joy and fulfillment.”
- “Warmest wishes on Kalevala Day! May the poetic verses of Kalevala resonate in your heart, bringing joy, creativity, and cultural pride.”
- “On this special day, may Kalevala’s tales fill your life with magic, courage, and the timeless beauty of Finnish heritage. Happy Kalevala Day!”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day filled with the enchantment of Finnish mythology, the strength of Väinämöinen, and the bravery of heroes.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! May the ancient stories of Kalevala inspire you to create your own epic tale filled with love, courage, and triumph.”
- “Warm wishes on Kalevala Day! May the poetic verses of Finland’s national epic bring inspiration, joy, and a sense of cultural pride to your day.”
- “On Kalevala Day, may the mythical characters of Finnish folklore guide you towards a day filled with wisdom, creativity, and positive energy.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! Let the magic of the Sampo and the tales of heroes inspire you to embark on your own heroic journey of discovery.”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day filled with the beauty of ancient stories, the strength of Väinämöinen, and the richness of Finnish culture.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! May the spirit of Finnish mythology infuse your day with creativity, wisdom, and a deep connection to your cultural roots.”
- “On this Kalevala Day, embrace the enchanting tales of Kalevala and let the magic of Finnish folklore fill your life with joy and inspiration.”
- “Warmest wishes on Kalevala Day! May the ancient runes and tales of heroes inspire you to create your own epic story of strength and resilience.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! May the mythical characters of Finland’s national epic bring joy, prosperity, and a sense of cultural pride to your celebrations.”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day filled with the magic of ancient stories, the wisdom of runes, and the enduring spirit of Finnish heritage.”
TOP 20 KALEVALA DAY IN FINLAND QUOTES
Here are 20 unique Kalevala Day quotes for Finland:
- “On Kalevala Day, let the ancient verses remind us that every day is a new page in our own epic tale.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! In the tapestry of life, may your story be woven with courage, love, and the echoes of Finnish folklore.”
- “As we celebrate Kalevala Day, let the wisdom of Väinämöinen guide us towards harmony, strength, and the beauty of our cultural roots.”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day filled with the timeless wisdom and poetic beauty that Finnish folklore brings to our lives.”
- “On this Kalevala Day, may the stories of heroes inspire us to face challenges with bravery and create our own epic journey.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! In the verses of Kalevala, find the inspiration to embrace each day as a unique chapter in your own epic adventure.”
- “As we honor Kalevala Day, let the mythical spirits of Finland whisper tales of resilience, love, and the magic of cultural heritage.”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day filled with the enchantment of Finnish mythology, the strength of heroes, and the power of storytelling.”
- “On Kalevala Day, let the wisdom of runes and the magic of ancient tales inspire us to write our own story of resilience and triumph.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! May the words of Väinämöinen resonate in our hearts, filling our lives with harmony and cultural pride.”
- “As we celebrate Kalevala Day, let the tales of Kalevala remind us that our stories, like runes, hold the power to shape our destiny.”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day where the poetry of life intertwines with the verses of Finnish folklore, creating a symphony of joy and inspiration.”
- “On this Kalevala Day, may the magic of Finnish mythology weave through your life, bringing forth creativity, wisdom, and cultural richness.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! Let the echoes of ancient stories inspire us to embrace our unique narratives with courage, passion, and resilience.”
- “As we honor Kalevala Day, may the heroes of Finnish folklore ignite a spark within us to face challenges with strength and determination.”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day filled with the spirit of adventure, the wisdom of Väinämöinen, and the enchantment of Finnish cultural heritage.”
- “On Kalevala Day, let the verses of our cultural epic be a source of inspiration, connecting us to the wisdom and strength of our ancestors.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! May the mythical tales of Finland inspire us to write our own stories, embracing the magic of resilience and growth.”
- “As we celebrate Kalevala Day, let the characters of our cultural epic teach us that every challenge is an opportunity for growth and triumph.”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day where the poetry of Finnish folklore becomes a guiding light, illuminating the path to resilience, wisdom, and joy.”
TOP 20 KALEVALA DAY IN FINLAND MESSAGES/SMS
Here are 20 unique Kalevala Day messages for Finland:
- “Happy Kalevala Day! May the enchanting verses of Kalevala inspire you to embark on a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and cultural pride.”
- “On Kalevala Day, let’s celebrate the richness of Finnish culture and the timeless wisdom found in the pages of Kalevala. Wishing you joy and inspiration!”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day filled with the magic of Finnish folklore. May the stories of heroes and the wisdom of runes guide you on your path.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! Embrace the spirit of Väinämöinen and the mythical characters as you navigate through the chapters of your own epic tale.”
- “On this Kalevala Day, let the echoes of ancient stories resonate within you, inspiring courage, creativity, and a deeper connection to Finnish heritage.”
- “Wishing you a joyful Kalevala Day! May the tales of Kalevala remind you of the strength within, the beauty of diversity, and the magic of cultural storytelling.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! Today, let’s honor the cultural treasures of Finland and the timeless stories that continue to shape our collective identity.”
- “On Kalevala Day, may the verses of Finnish folklore be a source of inspiration, weaving a tapestry of resilience, wisdom, and cultural richness in your life.”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day filled with the magic of runes and the enduring spirit of Finnish mythology. May your journey be as epic as the tales we celebrate.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! As we honor our cultural heritage, may the stories of Kalevala ignite a sense of pride, unity, and appreciation for the magic of words.”
- “On this special day, embrace the cultural heritage of Finland and the profound stories of Kalevala. May your day be filled with joy, inspiration, and celebration.”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day that unfolds like a beautiful narrative, filled with moments of cultural discovery, connection, and the magic of Finnish folklore.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! May the characters of our cultural epic inspire you to face challenges with resilience, forge your destiny, and create your own heroic story.”
- “On Kalevala Day, let’s celebrate the beauty of Finnish mythology and the cultural treasures found in the verses of Kalevala. May your day be filled with enchantment.”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day illuminated by the wisdom of Väinämöinen and the magic of Finnish heritage. May your journey be as epic as the tales we cherish.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! Today, may the verses of Kalevala resonate in your heart, reminding you of the rich cultural tapestry that makes Finland unique.”
- “On this Kalevala Day, let the mythical spirits of Finland guide you towards a day filled with joy, wisdom, and a deeper appreciation for our cultural legacy.”
- “Wishing you a Kalevala Day where the magic of Finnish folklore fills your heart with inspiration, pride, and a sense of connection to our shared heritage.”
- “Happy Kalevala Day! May the tales of heroes and the wisdom of ancient runes inspire you to embrace the strength, resilience, and magic within you.”
- “On Kalevala Day, let’s celebrate the timeless stories that define our cultural identity. May your day be filled with joy, pride, and a deep connection to Finnish heritage.”
A summary of the main points and arguments of the article A reflection on the significance and relevance of the Kalevala for the contemporary world A suggestion for further reading and research on the Kalevala and related topics
In conclusion, this article has discussed the Kalevala, the national epic of Finland and Karelia, and how it is celebrated on the Kalevala Day, the Finnish Culture Day. The article has examined the origin and development of the Kalevala, the content and structure of the Kalevala, and the reception and legacy of the Kalevala. The article has shown how the Kalevala is a remarkable and influential work of literature, culture, and history, that has shaped and enriched the identity and creativity of the Finns and other peoples.
The Kalevala is not only a valuable and fascinating source of knowledge and entertainment, but also a relevant and inspiring guide for the contemporary world. The Kalevala teaches us about the power and beauty of language, poetry, and music, as well as the importance and diversity of oral and written traditions. The Kalevala also teaches us about the values and virtues of courage, wisdom, and justice, as well as the challenges and dangers of pride, greed, and violence. The Kalevala also teaches us about the harmony and balance of nature, culture, and spirituality, as well as the interconnection and interaction of humans, animals, and gods.
If you are interested in learning more about the Kalevala and related topics, here are some suggestions for further reading and research:
- The Kalevala: The Epic Poem of Finland, translated by John Martin Crawford, is one of the most popular and accessible English translations of the Kalevala, with an introduction and notes by the translator.
- The Kalevala and the World’s Traditional Epics, edited by Lauri Honko, is a collection of essays by experts on the Kalevala and other epics, exploring their similarities and differences, as well as their cultural and historical contexts.
- The Kalevala: An Epic of Finland and its People, by Elias Lönnroth, is a comprehensive and authoritative study of the Kalevala, its origin, development, content, structure, reception, and legacy, by one of the leading scholars of Finnic literature and culture.