Talvennapa

Posted On January 18, 2011

Filed under holidays, ritual

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On Sunday, a few of us from Taivaannaula traveled to Eura to celebrate talvennapa (or talvenharja). The day that the ritual was held on the 16th, marked the end of the kaamos in Northern Finland. They saw the sun for a whole ten minutes! Talvennapa is to celebrate the “breaking of the winter’s back.” This time in January is normally the coldest point of the year, but afterward, the sun’s return will become more noticeable. I wrote a little bit about this last year in the Midwinter entry; how it symbolizes the planting and cutting down of the Great Oak in the Kalevala.

For the ritual, we walked for about twenty minutes across a frozen lake to an island. After trekking up a hill knee-deep in snow, one of the guys cleared out a nice spot at the top, facing the lake. We lit candles for every person at the ritual (though keeping them lit in the wind was not always successful), and an offering of bread was laid out. We waited until the official sundown happened, and then started. Juniper was lit for purification at the beginning (always a good idea to use in rituals), and then we sang the runo about the Great Oak. During the middle of the song, the ritual leader “chopped down” the tree, and ended with a poem to Päivätär.

It was pretty chilly, but before the ritual, we had a nice large meal on the campfire, so that helped a great deal with the cold. Just a picture of our trek (Sadly my battery ran out so I didn’t get a picture of the ritual):

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