Suomenusko in translation – Markku’s Day

“Markku’s Day tomorrow is depicted with a cuckoo or a plough in the wooden rune calendars. In Southern Finland, ploughing could be started and singing cuckoo announced that summer had arrived. “Markku gives a tongue to the cuckoo and Valpuri (May 1) carries a sowing bushel to the fields”. Farther to the north, Erkki’s Day (May 18) had a similar meaning for people.

The night preceding Markku’s Day has been one of the most important occasions for forecasting the summer weather. People could even change their travel plans based on the weather conditions of this night. Cold weather and frost on Markku’s night predicted continued cold airs and frosts. “If Markku’s toes are freezing, there will be cold summer”. Other sayings state that cold weather would continue until the next lunar cycle.

The coldness of the night was measured with various ways. In southern Finland the night was not considered all that cold if an ox could break the cover of ice on its drinking water in the morning. If the ox failed to break the ice, the coming year would be cold and miserable.

If the night was warm, rainy or the wind blew from any other direction except the north, the summer would be warm and harvest abundant. In northern Savo people said that then one could safely sow even next to a spring.

Markku also predicted how much wild berries there would be. If the night was warm, the forests would give people plenty of berries, but if the wind blew from the north people said that “Markku eats the berries” or “Markku takes the berries away”.”

Translation: Anssi A.



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