Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: The Kalevala: Finnish Epic Folk Poems

  1. #1
    Funding Member
    "Friend of Germanics"
    Skadi Funding Member

    Blutwölfin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Last Online
    2 Days Ago @ 03:21 PM
    Status
    Available
    Ethnicity
    German
    Ancestry
    Skåne and North Frisia
    Country
    Iceland Iceland
    Gender
    Family
    In a steady relationship
    Posts
    4,083
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    13
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    62
    Thanked in
    43 Posts

    Arrow e-book: The Kalevala

    The Kalevala in English and Finnish
    Lík börn leika best.

  2. #2
    Funding Member
    "Friend of Germanics"
    Skadi Funding Member

    Blutwölfin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Last Online
    2 Days Ago @ 03:21 PM
    Status
    Available
    Ethnicity
    German
    Ancestry
    Skåne and North Frisia
    Country
    Iceland Iceland
    Gender
    Family
    In a steady relationship
    Posts
    4,083
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    13
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    62
    Thanked in
    43 Posts

    Lightbulb The Kalevala: Finnish Epic Folk Poems

    The first edition of the Kalevala appeared in 1835, compiled and edited by Elias Lönnrot on the basis of the epic folk poems he had collected in Finland and Karelia.

    This poetic song tradition, sung in an unusual, archaic trochaic tetrametre, had been part of the oral tradition among speakers of Balto-Finnic languages for two thousand years.

    When the Kalevala appeared in print for the first time, Finland had been an Autonomous Grand Duchy for a quarter of a century. Prior to this, until 1809, Finland had been a part of the Swedish empire.

    The Kalevala marked an important turning-point for Finnish-language culture and caused a stir abroad as well. It brought a small, unknown people to the attention of other Europeans, and bolstered the Finns' self-confidence and faith in the possibilities of a Finnish language and culture. The Kalevala began to be called the Finnish national epic.

    Lönnrot and his colleagues continued their efforts to collect folk poetry, and new material quickly accumulated. Using this new material, Lönnrot published a second, expanded version of the Kalevala in 1849. This New Kalevala is the version which has been read in Finland ever since and upon which most translations are based.


    The songs behind the Kalevala

    What was the nature of the old folk poetry recorded by Lönnrot on his collecting journeys? What stories did the songs tell, how did they originate and how long did they survive?

    It has been estimated that approximately 2,500–3,000 years ago there occurred a major new development in the culture of the proto-Finnic groups living near Gulf of Finland. The result of this development was a unique form of song characterized by alliteration and parallelism as well as an absence of stanza structure. The poetic metre of these songs was a special trochaic tetrametre which is now often called Kalevala metre.

    When sung, the lines actually had four or five stresses, and the melodies covered a narrow range, usually consisting of only five notes.

    The old folk poetry does not originate from a single historical period, but is a mixture of numerous layers which vary in age. The oldest layers are represented by mythical poems which tell of creation acts in a primordial past, as well as the origins of the world and human culture.

    The main character in epic poems is usually a mighty singer, shaman, and sorcerer, the spiritual leader of his clan who makes journeys to the land of the dead in order to seek knowledge. The songs' heroes also have adventures in a distant land beyond the sea, on journeys where they woo potential brides, make raids, and flee the enemy.

    Lyric songs express human, personal emotions. Ritual poems focus especially on weddings and bear-killing feasts. Kalevala metre incantations are verbal magic, which was part of people's everyday lives and activities.

    The archaic song tradition was a vital, living tradition throughout Finland until the 1500s. Following the Reformation, the Lutheran Church forbade the singing of the songs, declaring the entire tradition to be pagan. At the same time, new musical trends from the West found a foothold in Finland.

    The old Kalevala metre song tradition began to disappear first from the western part of the country and then, later, from other areas as well. Some songs were recorded already in the 1600s, but most of the folk poetry collection work was not carried out until the 1800s. In Archangel Karelia the old poetry tradition has survived until the present day.

    The preparation and publication of the Kalevala in 1835 and 1849

    After his collection trip in 1834, the possibility of a unified epic seemed to Lönnrot to be within reach. He now considered the relationships among the different poems and how best to arrange them. Later he told of having generally adhered to the order in which the best singers sang their songs. The Kalevala was ready for publication in 1835. Lönnrot dated his preface the 28th of February, which is now celebrated as Kalevala Day.

    SKS The publication of the Kalevala did not dampen his enthusiasm for collecting, however. He continued his work and travelled to Archangel Karelia in April and October of the same year. In 1836-37 he undertook a major expedition, travelling through the villages of Archangel Karelia to Lapland. After having returned from there to Kajaani, he continued south to Finnish Karelia.

    Lönnrot's example inspired many others to undertake collection journeys. The most important of these young collectors was D.E.D. Europaeus, who let Lönnrot use the folk poems he recorded. Thus an ever-increasing amount of new folk poetry material became available to Lönnrot.

    Lönnrot began work on a new, expanded version of the Kalevala, which appeared in 1849. To this New Kalevala Lönnrot added entire new eisodes and made changes to much of the text. While the Old Kalevala had been nearer to the original performances of the actual folk poets, Lönnrot moved further and further away from his source texts in compiling the New Kalevala. With regard to his method, Lönnrot explained: "I felt myself to have the same right which, according to their conviction, most singers bestow on themselves, namely, to be able to order the runes as they are best suited to be joined together, or, in the words of a rune: “I conjured myself into a conjurer, a singer came of me. That is, I considered myself as good a singer as they.”

    Karelianism and National Romanticism

    From the very beginning, enthusiasm over the Kalevala was linked to the question of the epic's Karelian roots. Karelia was seen to be a treasure trove of poetry, an idyllic sanctuary of ancient myth and lifeways.

    Romantic interest surrounding Karelia, the Kalevala, and Finland's distant past is known as Karelianism. This interest peaked in the 1890s but continued into the 1920s.

    Folk poetry collectors and ethnographers travelled throughout Karelia, bringing back with them new and exciting finds after every journey. They also described their experiences in travel journals and in the press. For artists in particular, Karelia soon became a pilgrimage site, and the Kalevala became an extremely valuable source of inspiration and subject matter.

    Soon after the Kalevala's publication, researchers emphasized that while most of the Kalevala's text is indeed based on authentic folklore, as a overall work it is the composition of a single man, Elias Lönnrot. In the Karelianist movement, however, the Kalevala represented ancient Finnish reality.

    For the Karelianists, the landscape and people of Karelia were the present-day representatives of the world depicted in the Kalevala. As in broader trends of European thought, groups living in isolation from social and cultural centers were often seen to directly reflect the life of earlier eras.

    In 1919, the Karelianists founded the Kalevala Society. One of the Society's aims was to found a Kalevala House which would be a centre for Kalevala art and research. Eliel Saarinen sketched the blueprints for the Kalevala House, but the project never went any further. Karelianist influences can be seen, however, in those of Saarinen's architectural works which were built, for example the National Museum and the Helsinki Railway Station.

    In the 20th century, enthusiasm for Karelia and the Kalevala has sometimes waned, with Karelianism criticized for being an example of folklorism and over-romanticized escape from reality.

    Now, however, on the brink of the new millenium, the Kalevala and folk poetry have once again become subjects of interest. In a way, we have come full circle, since after more than half a century it is once again possible to make trips to the folk poetry lands of Archangel Karelia.


    Read the Kalevala here
    Lík börn leika best.

  3. #3
    Member Frostwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Last Online
    Thursday, December 28th, 2006 @ 12:23 PM
    Location
    Korpi
    Gender
    Age
    34
    Occupation
    Overcoming self
    Posts
    145
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Ah, Kalevala. Tales from the land of a thousand lakes, it's peoples' history and cultural form: all these grand matters spanning many, many generations expressed through epic poetry telling of heroes, magic and the strangest of phenomena which only the most acute of minds could be aware of in their surroundings.

    I'd like to know what you have managed to gather from the sometimes-confusing (I haven't seen many a hiisi lately, maybe my sight is weakening?) texts of Kalevala in a historical sense? I recently read a book "Kullervon Suku (The Kin of Kullervo)" by Timo Heikkilä, which analyzed the history and development of the Finno-Ugric people, making quite sharp observations about the Kalevala in regards to the cultural history of my people.

    Let's take the tale of Kullervo for example (poems 31-36). In the Kalevala, it was told how the two families of Kalervo and Untamo had began to fight with each other, starting from a small thing. Their mutual antipathy grew to a full-scale war, in which the armies of Untamo devastated Kalervo's troops, leaving only a little baby boy left, a child named Kullervo.

    He was taken by Untamo to be raised in the ways of Untamo, but those efforts proved to be in vain, as Kullervo wasn't of his blood. Only three nights old, this boy of immense strength broke his nappy. Due to his chaotic and giant-like nature, he couldn't do anything right and just broke everything. Untamo pondered that there he has the blood and flesh of Kalervo: it cannot come off as anything good, so he tried to murder the son by drowning, burning and hanging. But Kullervo just wouldn't die, so Untamo decided to sell him to the smith Ilmarinen as a slave. Kullervo then did some of the chores for Ilmarinen and his wife.

    But Ilmarinen's wife was a mean one. One day, she baked a bread for the tragic and blue child Kullervo, as he was to tend their cattle in the woods. When hungry Kullervo started to cut the bread, his knife, his most prized possession, inherited from Kalervo himself, hit a stone inside the loof! Angered by this misfortune, one of the countless ones in his life, he let out a sorrowful curse. Gnashing his teeth together, he summoned wolves and bears to rip the evil wench to pieces. Kullervo then leaves before the smith hears of his wife's peril.

    On his way Kullervo meets his mother, who at first doesn't recognize her long-lost son. Although she has lost her daughter as well, she is happy of the reunion and lets Kullervo stay with his family, helping with chores and such. But woe for Kullervo, as he has been raised in the ill ways of Untamo and thus everything he does ends up failing. Failure and grief everywhere, no true home. After a while, Kalervo sends him on his way to pay tenths. On the journey though, Kullervo unknowingly commits his utmost despairing act as he meets pretty young maidens on the road, and like young males do, he courts them. His tries are to no avail with the first two, but the third one actually jumps into Kullervo's sleigh and they have a good time together, this boy and girl.

    In the consequent discussion they have, it is revealed out that the girl Kullervo copulated with was indeed his lost sister, who couldn't bear the guilt and threw herself into a river. Kullervo despairs over the act, and is ready to meet death, after a certain man is dealt with: Untamo. When he returns home, he tells her mother that he has defiled his own sister, and saddened by that wishes to die off after slaying Untamo, who has caused so much suffering for the young Kullervo by tearing him apart. His mother doesn't want to lose yet another of her children. Nevertheless, Kullervo remains firm in his desire for war and death, and further conversation with his family unravels that he isn't so valuable to them, being a broken man, and thus can be replaced with a better one. Only the mother grieves for his departure.

    Kullervo then sets out to war. As he makes journey, messages reach his ears telling of death culling his family. Father first, then brother: both aren't shed even one tear for. Only upon knowing his mother's demise, Kullervo feels the pain of loss. He calls for Ukko to bestow him with a mighty sword to devastate and ravage Untamo's kin, and his wish is granted. Untamo is slaughtered and houses burned down. After that, Kullervo returns to his old home, and finds out he has no kin anymore; they have all perished while Kullervo was on warpath. Grieved by this, he continues his journey once again, and comes upon the place where he defiled his sister. With heavy heart and black mind, he asks his sword would it eat guilty flesh, drink faulty blood. The sword was indifferent: after all, it would also eat innocent flesh and drink flawless blood. Kullervo then set the blade's point on his chest and threw himself to the ground. That was the death of a young man, Kullervo.

    An attempt to interpret the tale of Kullervo: We can see that Kullervo was a very torn man, having no clear image of himself. Blood of Kalervo, ways of Untamo. Kalervo's kin represented the eastern part of Finland, bearing still close relationship to the ancient shamanistic ways and living within the flow of nature in a dream-like state and blue-coloured depths of mind. Untamo however, represents the western part of Finland, influenced by the Indo-European traditions and thus took a more active role according to the environment, regarding Kalervo's kin as giants of uncontrollable nature (the unconscious) who came from under the moon's rule, as they themselves worshipped the sun. So, Kullervo was the product between these two cultural courses.

    Because of that, he couldn't fully fit into either one of these societies. He was the birth of pure sisu, will, as that was the only thing that could get him overcome his broken nature. Kullervo's mother tried to sway him into forgetting his will, but to no avail, as he remained steadfast in his desire to slay Untamo. Timo Heikkilä compared this scene to one in the Bhagavad-Gita: a young warrior named Arjuna took part in a battle at the fields of Kuruksetra. He hesitated to fight, as both factions; families warring were related to him. He asked Krishna for advice, and by heeding it he overcame all his passive and negative feelings and set out to battle. Quite similar with Kullervo, no?

    Kullervo is the collective soul of the Finnish people as neither Kalervo or Untamo were truly Finnish. Kullervo lived in a constant state of "flood" (often depicts total change in mythological use) before he let out his curse. This curse brought the needed backbone and character to the wretched Kullervo, a synthesis of the red and blue mindsets, the state of the Sampo, creation of his self-image.

    Any thoughts?

  4. #4
    Account Inactive Vapaa Suursaari's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Last Online
    Thursday, December 29th, 2005 @ 10:56 PM
    Posts
    35
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Question

    I have seen some things like "old Kaleva relegion".

    Do you know more about it?

    Sounds interesting.

  5. #5
    Account Inactive perkele14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Last Online
    Sunday, September 28th, 2008 @ 03:16 AM
    Subrace
    Nordid
    Location
    Suomi, Finland
    Gender
    Posts
    527
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Vapaa Suursaari
    I have seen some things like "old Kaleva relegion".

    Do you know more about it?

    Sounds interesting.
    Do you mean if actual original rites etc. could have survived the centuries
    of persecution so that they may be found somewhere well documented ?
    I doubt it, even though some attempts of reconstruction have been made.
    In most cases, I am very suspicious about the motives and agendas
    of the people behind it.

    Here is one interesting book you should take a look, though
    I doubt if it has been translated to any other languages:

    http://www.basambooks.com/kirjaesitt...2618005178626E

    http://www.burningbooks.net/tuoteinfo.php?id=141

    (35.50 e Burning Booksista)




  6. #6
    Member Frostwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Last Online
    Thursday, December 28th, 2006 @ 12:23 PM
    Location
    Korpi
    Gender
    Age
    34
    Occupation
    Overcoming self
    Posts
    145
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Vapaa Suursaari
    I have seen some things like "old Kaleva relegion".

    Do you know more about it?

    Sounds interesting.
    Do you mean the giant Kaleva and his twelve sons, whose names are according to Timo Heikkilä's book "Kullervon suku" Hiisi, Kalmamies, Kihavanskoinen, Kihovauhkonen, Liekiöinen, Perkelus, Sankari, Soini, Tihulainen, Turkas, Turisas and Turras. These giants were said to have built castles around Finland, so perhaps they aren't simply chaotic forces of the unconscious, but different manifestations of the Finnish gods, as you can judge from the names: Perkelus = Ukko, Liekiöinen = a quite striking similarity with the fiery nature of Lemminkäinen, Turisas = god of war, and so on.

    Antero Vipunen is an all-knowing ancient giant, and the tale of Väinämöinen ending up into his stomach in search for knowledge could be interpreted as a shamanistic journey into the ancient depths of the human mind.

    Coincidence or not, but there are stone circles made of twelve boulders around Finland, which were used for trials. Stones are closely associated with giants due to their cumbersome and lasting nature and because of that giants have been thought as clumsy and stupid, but immensely strong like the forces of nature are. Humans cannot understand them, as they are simply too enormous to fit in the mind of man, unlike the small dwarves who easily fit in human thoughts, and thus can grant slight understanding of the phenomena behind their existence.

  7. #7
    Member Frostwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Last Online
    Thursday, December 28th, 2006 @ 12:23 PM
    Location
    Korpi
    Gender
    Age
    34
    Occupation
    Overcoming self
    Posts
    145
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Oops, looks like I got too carried away and missed the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by perkele14
    Do you mean if actual original rites etc. could have survived the centuries
    of persecution so that they may be found somewhere well documented ?
    I doubt it, even though some attempts of reconstruction have been made.
    In most cases, I am very suspicious about the motives and agendas
    of the people behind it.
    When the old traditions are outnumbered by the outside influences, they wither, and die when the last sturdy follower has perished. All that is left from them is the impact they had on our ancestor's lives, but they are gone forever. Similar outlooks may arise, but even they won't be the same as the traditions of the old were despite having some of their blood flowing in their veins.

    Yes, one should be doubtful of resurrected religions today, as their followers might just be in it for some Romanticist twist without really comprehending the inner spirit of it, just clinging on the pleasant surface, or worse. "Moni on kakku päältä kaunis, kuorelta kovin sileä, vaan on silkkoa sisässä, akanoita alla kuoren."

    Here is one interesting book you should take a look, though
    I doubt if it has been translated to any other languages
    This looks interesting, as it's also written by Timo Heikkilä, the one who wrote the book "Kullervon suku" (Vihreä Sivistysliitto 1995) which generally sparked the flow of text I wrote in this thread. A very interesting book, I got mine from the local library.

  8. #8
    Account Inactive perkele14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Last Online
    Sunday, September 28th, 2008 @ 03:16 AM
    Subrace
    Nordid
    Location
    Suomi, Finland
    Gender
    Posts
    527
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Frostwood

    Blood of Kalervo, ways of Untamo. Kalervo's kin represented the eastern part of Finland, bearing still close relationship to the ancient shamanistic ways and living within the flow of nature in a dream-like state and blue-coloured depths of mind. Untamo however, represents the western part of Finland, influenced by the Indo-European traditions and thus took a more active role according to the environment, regarding Kalervo's kin as giants of uncontrollable nature (the unconscious) who came from under the moon's rule, as they themselves worshipped the sun. So, Kullervo was the product between these two cultural courses.

    .......

    Kullervo is the collective soul of the Finnish people as neither Kalervo or Untamo were truly Finnish. Kullervo lived in a constant state of "flood" (often depicts total change in mythological use) before he let out his curse. This curse brought the needed backbone and character to the wretched Kullervo, a synthesis of the red and blue mindsets, the state of the Sampo, creation of his self-image.

    Any thoughts?
    Yes, it is curious to see how these sometimes differing elements are interwoven in our mythology. It would also be interesting to see the whole dissected, revealing the different "proto-ethnic" elements in each as there obviously were few migrational waves from which the "whole" consists of.



    http://www.narva.sci.fi/kalevanpojat/

  9. #9
    Senior Member Sigel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Last Online
    Thursday, March 16th, 2006 @ 03:02 PM
    Subrace
    Ingvaeonic
    Country
    England England
    Location
    Heorot
    Gender
    Age
    49
    Politics
    Pan-Germanic
    Religion
    Lofgeornost
    Posts
    480
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    2
    Thanked in
    2 Posts
    Okay, it's time for the Finns here to confess. You're actually Elves aren't you? Don't deny it, it's got to be true. A little large perhaps but...
    A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors
    will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendents.

    Lord Macauley

  10. #10
    Senior Member Arcturus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Last Online
    Tuesday, February 20th, 2007 @ 09:27 PM
    Country
    Finland Finland
    Gender
    Family
    Having a longtime companion
    Occupation
    X-Rays & Uranium
    Religion
    I Exist.
    Posts
    1,460
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    2
    Thanked in
    2 Posts

    Grin

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigel
    Okay, it's time for the Finns here to confess. You're actually Elves aren't you? Don't deny it, it's got to be true. A little large perhaps but...
    Who are you calling a fairy!?

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: Friday, November 14th, 2008, 02:39 AM
  2. The Kantele and the Kalevala Culture
    By Pellonpekko in forum Music & Hymns
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Saturday, March 4th, 2006, 10:28 PM
  3. The Kalevala: Finnish Shamanism
    By Pan-FinnoUgric in forum Indo-Germanic Spirituality
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: Sunday, October 23rd, 2005, 02:16 AM
  4. The Kalevala: Main Saga of Finnland
    By Blutwölfin in forum Germanic Heathenry
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Sunday, September 4th, 2005, 02:21 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •