November 27, 2004 7:21 AM   Subscribe

The Paganism of Suomi. Before the arrival of Christianity, and even for centuries after, Finland (popups) had a rich religious tradition. Like most things Finnish, it was wholly different from the mythology of their Nordic neighbors, but shares much with that of the Sámi (Lapp) peoples.
posted by borkingchikapa (10 comments total)
Great post, thank you.

My introduction to Finnish mythology (other than ogling Loviatar in good old Deities & Demigods) was courtesy of Finnish band Amorphis, who did an album based on the Kalevala, and a follow-up based on the Kanteletar, which is one of my all-time favorites. The lyrics were just like nothing I'd ever heard before; turns out they all come just about verbatim from Keith Bosley's translation which is now a much-worn volume in my library.

Finlit has a nice Kalevala resource page, with the Finnish text nicely HTML-ed. If you read Russian, you can read it here; or, in English here.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:20 AM on November 27, 2004

This book is a wonderful history of the Northern Crusade which was the Christianization of the Balkan region (including Finland), a generally little known part of European history.
posted by stbalbach at 8:41 AM on November 27, 2004

the Northern Crusade

Sorry for the musical diversions, but there's also a classic (surprisingly touching, for me) song about this from a Swedish point of view: One Rode to Asa Bay

Hearing Quorthon croak out those last few words seriously puts a lump in my throat.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:51 AM on November 27, 2004

If nothing else, this post let me know the origin of my father's name, "Otso". My wife has been looking for baby names and was unable to Otso under lists of Finnish names. My grandmother was born in Finland in 1888 and gave the impression that there was still some animosity toward christians (according to her, Finland had been under the control of Sweden, and the Swedish king had declared everyone in Finland a christian). She was from the far north woods where missionary work was still ongoing. Among her possessions was a bible given to her from a German Lutheran missionary, printed in what she called "Black German" letters. She became a sceptic despite the fact that until the 8th grade, the only school reading text book was the bible (this was pragmatic rather than religious, everyone had a bible and it saved buying a book).
posted by 445supermag at 8:51 AM on November 27, 2004

445supermag you're grandmother tells the truth, all northern parts were still quite sceptic, and still are.
posted by dabitch at 9:44 AM on November 27, 2004

this is great
posted by moonbird at 10:27 AM on November 27, 2004

stbalbach, you mean the Baltic region, don't you?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:19 PM on November 27, 2004

From the 1st link: In trance shaman could ask forefathers and nature spirits for guidance and hidden wisdom.

Today, of course, there's the Internet and AskMefi, so...

Good post though!
posted by sour cream at 9:25 PM on November 27, 2004

Great post. I've loved Finnish mythology ever since my cousin once removed introduced me to the traditional useage of the Fly Agaric mushroom while I was visiting in Jyvaskyla.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:10 PM on November 27, 2004

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