The Year of Celebration
The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Finland as an independent country. Even though the actual Independence Day is on the 6th of December, it doesn’t stop the Finns from starting the celebrations already in the beginning of the year. During this year of celebration, many different artists, organizations and projects take part in the “Suomi100“-celebration and draw inspiration from the Fi
nnish nationality and independence. The different happenings around the country can be followed at http://suomifinland100.fi/?lang=en or with the hashtag #suomi100.
The year is also reserved for honoring and remembering the things that make Finland the country it is. Besides the sauna, ryebread, skiing and awful grammar, one must also take time to remember the Finnish national epic; Kalevala.
On 28th of February every year the Kalevala day is celebrated. It marks the date that the compiler of the Finnish epic, Elias Lönnrot, signed the first copy of the original Kalevala (also known as the Vanha Kalevala) in 1835. In 1849, the nowadays better known version (Uusi Kalevala) was published. Lönnrot visited many towns and homes all around the Finnish region, and collected the old folk poetry and tales that had formed through many generations. These stories had been told for hundreds of years before Lönnrot decided to gather them together to form the Finnish national epic. After its release, Kalevala had a huge impact on the Finnish national identity. The publishing of Kalevala gave the Finns a history and an identity separate from Russia. This growing sense of peoplehood ultimately led to Finland’s independence from Russia in 1917.
This year also the YET-project is a part of the celebration; the plays are based on Kalevala’s story of Sampo in honor of the independent Finland. Every participant has read the story of Sampo and in teams created new interpretations of the traditional story. The performances will start tomorrow, Wednesday 1st of March. Be sure to be a part of the celebration!
Text: Venla Aitta
Picture: Arsi Paananen