Kalevala Day (Finnish Culture Day) 28th of February

Posted in Celebration/National Day 

“Words shall not be hid
nor spells buried
might shall not sink underground
though the mighty go.”
― Elias Lönnrot, The Kalevala

Kalevala Day (Finnish Culture Day) 28th of February

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The Kalevala or The Kalewala (/ˌkɑːləˈvɑːlə/; Finnish: [ˈkɑle̞ʋɑlɑ]) is a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythology.

It is regarded as the national epic of Karelia and Finland and is one of the most significant works of Finnish literature. The Kalevala played an instrumental role in the development of the Finnish national identity, the intensification of Finland’s language strife and the growing sense of nationality that ultimately led to Finland’s independence from Russia in 1917.

The first version of The Kalevala (called The Old Kalevala) was published in 1835. The version most commonly known today was first published in 1849 and consists of 22,795 verses, divided into fifty songs (Finnish: runot). The title can be interpreted as “The Land of Kaleva” or “Kalevia”.

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Shrove Tuesday (28th of February)

Posted in Celebration/National Day

“I started a Shrove Tuesday
and then by Ash Wednesday something had happened
and I had a bottle of beer”
Mick McCarthy

Shrove Tuesday (28th of February)

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Shrove Tuesday (known in some countries as Pancake Tuesday or Pancake day) is a day in February or March preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes. In others, especially those where it is called Mardi Gras or some translation thereof, this is a carnival day, and also the last day of “fat eating” or “gorging” before the fasting period of Lent.

In Finland, Shrovetide took on a new meaning after the Reformation started by the German Martin Luther (1483-1546) from ca 1520 on. In the rural calendar, it marked the date by which many springtime tasks and duties, like spinning etc, should be brought to conclusion.

Nowadays Shrovetide is more of a secular festival season, a time for winter sport enthusiasts as well as for feasts of fatty foods, although the Lenten fasting ritual is not practiced among the Finnish Evangelical-Lutheran Church.

On Shrove Tuesday, children in many kindergartens and schools are taken to spend the day tobogganing, ice skating or cross-country or downhill skiing.

Popular Finnish Shrovetide desserts are Shrove buns, almond paste and whipped cream-filled sweet buns, which you will find sold in every bakery and store at Shrovetide, and Finnish oven-baked pancake served with jam. In Finland, the habit of eating Shrove buns can be dated back to the 17th century, but this tradition is even older in Sweden, where it originally came from.

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