Sharing Culture

Posted On November 18, 2011

Filed under events, music

Comments Dropped 8 responses

Now that I’m gone from Finland, I have opportunities to share all of what I learned with people in my life. I recently went to a local small Heathen event where we all shared creative endeavors, whether it was poetry, song, or artwork. Even though it was Asatru, I was more than welcome to share Finnish traditions. I wore my Euran puku there, and had songs ready to sing. The problem I’ve found with the Taivaannaula song book is that there is no notation in the book, so most of the songs I am not sure how they go. Some of them I do remember from being at events though. Finnish songs are characterized as being call and response, but now that I am in a culture (visiting America right now) where people don’t know Finnish, I had to be careful of what I picked out. I picked out one that I remember well from Taivaannaula events called “Viikon Viivyin Viipurissa”, where the response is just “lii-lii-lii-o-lii-o-lii-o-lii” x2. I sang two lines, and that part was at the end for everyone to sing. Though people did not understand what I was saying in the lines, they had fun singing it, and enjoyed hearing what Finnish sounded like. They all said that it sounded very beautiful. I shared a bit about the clothing I was wearing, and sang two ritual songs. I’m really happy to be able to share Finnish culture with people outside of Finland now; pagans in particular, since not very many people know of these traditions.

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8 Responses to “Sharing Culture”

  1. Kauko

    I’m curious about whether in your experiences (with Pagans, Heathen or just with people in general outside of Finland) if you have had to frequently explain to people that Finnish culture, language and paganism are different and unrelated to Germanic heathenry? It’s been my experience, here in America, that people just don’t know anything about Finland and because of its association with Scandinavian countries they just assume that it is part of the same cultural/ linguistic group. Consequently, I’ve spent my share of time explaining to people how it is different. Among Pagans and Heathens I often find myself correcting those who call Asatru/ Heathenry/ Germanic Paganism as ‘the indigenous religion of Northern Europe’, by informing them that there are other peoples, cultures and religions in northern Europe aside from Germanic. So, as I said, I’m curious if you (and other Finns reading this) have had the same kinds of experiences. 🙂

    • Christine

      I have had that occasion all too often as well, mainly in informing people that Finland is not actually Scandinavia and it being a different language family. I get really irritated at especially the term “northern tradition paganism”, because when people who label their religion that refer to the “northern tradition” and its gods, they only ever talk about Germanic deities and use Germanic terms. But saying “northern” is so vague! I think that people tend to forget about Finland since it’s in its own little category. Perhaps the fact that their flag is the same style as the Scandinavian countries, people think that must mean they are one and the same culture.

      • Kauko

        The whole ‘Northern Tradition’ thing is a big pet peeve of mine too. I encounter some of the people behind that rebranding of heathenry/ Asatru as Northern Tradition on various sites I visit and I’ve learned to keep quiet about it because i don’t want to be obnoxious and in their faces about it. But I am always quick to correct anymore who outright says that Germanic paganism/ Asatru etc is the indigenous religion of northern Europe and point out that Finns, Sami, Baltic and Slavic peoples are in northern Europe too.

  2. Cardimom Brennan

    Thanks so much for your continued sharing about Finnish traditions, and you thoughts. I am very interested in Finnish traditions and Finnish language. I am not of Finnish descent that I know of, But Baltic/Slavic and Irish, however as a child my father used to read a children’s version of the Kalevala to me and it has stayed with me through out my life. I have also been well schooled that Finland is not Scandinavia, and Finnish is not Germanic/Indo European, and It has it’s own traditions, and perspective. I hope I am not viewed as some sort of intruder, as I am only looking increase knowledge. Thanks again.

    • Christine

      You wouldn’t be seen as an intruder if it is something that you really feel connected with. It is nice to hear of people interested in Finland.

      • Cardimom Brennan

        Glad to know that. Thanks.

  3. Päivi

    It has been very interesting to read your blog. How is your relation to suomenusko after you have left Finland, if I may ask?

    I see myself as suomenuskoinen though I don’t live in Finland at the moment (I’m Finnish). Maybe that’s the reason why I found this religion because it’s my origin. I have never met Taivaannaula people, but I have thought about joining it.

    • Christine

      I think it’s still remaining pretty strong actually. Gods of course can be contacted anywhere, as well as ancestors. The feeling of the land isn’t the same of course, but it’s not as difficult as I thought it would be to continue practicing suomenusko. The only sad part is that pretty soon, holidays will start coming up that I can no longer celebrate with others again.

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