Tulen Synty

Posted On May 27, 2011

Filed under holidays, ritual

Comments Dropped 3 responses

Taivaannaula’s helajuhla celebration happened last weekend. We met in the same place as last year, and the rituals were more or less the same too. Unfortunately it was a bit cold, so there weren’t as many outdoor activities as last year.

While there, a couple Finns that attended told me that in some of the songs we sing, they can’t understand what is being said because it’s old Finnish. Even though they don’t understand, they still feel the power of the words, and that’s what is important. This was interesting to me, because in some ways I have been avoiding doing ritual by myself, since my Finnish is not that spectacular yet. It turns out that it doesn’t even really matter much afterall. As long as you get the gist of what the song is about (even just the title) that’s okay, so that you know you’re singing the right song for the right occasion.

For those wanting to know more about how to practice suomenusko, I can tell you that these old folk songs are seen to be the most important thing to use in ritual. In this entry, I will describe one of the rituals that we have done at every Taivaannaula event, which is quite simple to do. It is a ritual to celebrate fire; an element that is not all about destruction, but new beginnings as well. Normally, all of us walk in a circle around a fire pit, holding hands. One person stays in the middle and starts a fire. In the meantime, we all sing “Tulen Synty” (The Birth of Fire), and reflect on the fire element. It’s a really long runo, so I’m not going to write it on here, but I found it on a pdf, which you can access here. It’s on page 3. It took me quite awhile to find it on the Internet, because if you just type in “Tulen Synty”, what normally pops up is information about Sibelius’ composition. And that’s the ritual!

There is a special way to sing these old songs. They are always sung in 5/4; usually in the form of six eighth notes ending with two quarter notes. The quarter notes are normally sung in the same pitch. The leader of the ritual sings one line by him/herself, and then the congregation sings the same line after him/her. This continues throughout the whole song. Many of you might be solo practitioners, so in that case, you don’t have to repeat every line again. It’s very typical of Finnish folk songs to have this call and response form. If you don’t know how to pronounce Finnish, it’s quite easy because it’s a phonetic language, so it’s always pronounced exactly how it’s written. There’s plenty of links you can find online to learn how to say Finnish words.

If you’re really interested in using these songs in rituals, then I recommend buying Taivaannaula’s song book, which contains all of the songs that we sing for rituals. There’s some others in there just for fun too. Unfortunately the order form is all in Finnish, but it’s called “laulukirja”. You can always use the magic of Google translate too!

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3 Responses to “Tulen Synty”

  1. Kauko

    Thanks for the heads up on the song book from Taivaannaula, it definitely sounds like a great resource. I’ve bookmarked that page to order it one day when my Finnish skills are good enough to read it (well and be able to understand all of the order form 🙂

  2. Scott

    I found this CD and was wondering if this has the version of Tulen Synty that you wrote about.

    The Kalevala Heritage: Archive Recordings of Ancient Finnish Songs
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000378I/ref=dm_dp_cdp?ie=UTF8&s=music

    The listed price on Amazon is for 2 used copies at $89.97. Alot of money for a CD in my opinion but perhaps some would find enough value in it if it has the correct version of the song.

    • Christine

      Sorry it took me so long to reply. I haven’t heard that CD before, but by the description, it seems like it would be the one I wrote about since it’s actual Kalevala style.

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