Suomenusko

This site is dedicated to exploring and collecting folklore and myths as found in epic poetry all over the world, but particularly from the Baltic and Finland. Why is the folklore of Finland so fascinating? The sources for Finnish folk traditions, historically, do not exist before Christianity did in Finland. The earliest sources we have are from a bishop named Mikael Agricola in the 1500′s writing down a list of Finnish pagan gods. Also, Finland is rare in that many of its folk traditions never ceased to be practiced. People were celebrating Ukonjuhla (the midsummer feast to Ukko) well into the 19th century. Arguably, Finnish folk religion never died. It lived on in a more robust form than many countries’ folk religions did, and merged with Christianity into a new faith. This is why you find spells and prayers to the Virgin Mary as well as prayers to Vainamoinen and Ukko. What are the defining factors of suomenusko? Here I will refer to this helpful paper from Taivaannaula:

1. Belief in spirits that reside in nature (including those of animals). 2. The concept of ancestor spirits living in the afterlife, instead of heaven or hell. 3. The survival of Balto-Finnic myths and spells as a living oral tradition. 4. A way of life closely connected to nature based almost entirely on self-sufficient agriculture or hunting and fishing. I have concluded that the aforementioned factors, which can be viewed independently of Christian theology and liturgy, can be considered the defining features of traditional Finnish folk religion. It is my contention that the Finnish folk faith offers a unique and holistic worldview which can be understood for the most part without reference to Christian theological concepts. My main sources of information for this are the Finnish Folklore Archive and, of course, the works of leading Finnish scholars in this field.

I will be discussing the basic concepts behind suomenusko, as well as holidays, worldview, and informational resources for an English speaker (because most suomenuskoiset are Finnish, which means they post and read things in Finnish, and have access to the SKVR, which is yet to be translated into English, and it can be tough to navigate if English is your only language).

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