Introducing Finland: Today is Kalevala Day!

Kullervo Departs for the War, by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1901)
©Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery, Central Art Archives. Photo: Jouko Könönen Antti Kuivalainen

Today is Kalevala Day, marking the anniversary of the publication of Kalevala, compiled by Elias Lönnrot (1802-1884) from Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology.

Kalevala, the Finnish national epic,  is one of the most significant works of Finnish literature. The Kalevala is a major part of Finnish culture and history, and has also impacted the arts in Finland. Also Kalevala characters still live on in business life, in the names given to many Finnish companies such as in the banking sector; Tapiola, Pohjola and Sampo (there is also the icebreaker called Sampo). Other companies in Finland related to Kalevala names are Lemminkäinen (asphalting company), Kaleva (insurance company), Ilmarinen (pension incurance company) and many more. The Kalevala is a unique trademark in the marketing world.

Also several places have Kalevala related names for example district Tapiola in the city of Espoo. And let’s not forget that several of the names in The Kalevala are also very popular Finnish names nowadays. There are lot of young people called Sampo, Ilmari or Aino.

Many folklore researchers and students study the traditions of pre-industrial, agrarian Finland at The University of Helsinki.  Access to these worlds is made possible through the unique collections housed in the Folklore Archives at the Finnish Literature Society. Central areas of interest include Kalevala-meter poetry, folk tales and legends, folk belief and mythology

The Karelian Finnish folk music group Värttinä is popular all around the world. It has based some of its lyrics on motifs from The KalevalaI hope you enjoy listening to Värttinä and have a great Kalevala Day!

The day is full of fun events. Check out from here!

Source: University of Helsinki; Folklore Studies, Finnish Literature Society