Finnish Neopaganism

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Finnish NeopaganismFinnish Neopaganism (Finnish: suomenusko or Finnish: suomenuskoinen pakanuus; also formerly Finnish: ukonusko) is a Neopagan religious system that attempts to revive old Finnish paganism, the pre-Christian polytheistic ethnic religion of the Finnish people.

The main problem in the revival of Finnish paganism is the nature of pre-Christian Finnish culture, which relied on oral tradition and was completely no literate. The primary sources concerning Finnish native culture are written by latter-era Christians. They may be biased, tainted or unreliable.

Finnish Neopaganism is advocated by the Taivaannaula voluntary association (since 2007). Its existence is not reported by adherents.com (as of 2010). According to official statistics on religion in Finland in 2009, 79.7% of Finns are Lutherans, 17.7% are nonreligious, 1.1% Eastern Orthodox, and the remaining 1.3% are mostly adherent of smaller Christian denominations.

Beliefs

Deities
Finnish Neopaganism is polytheistic, with a pantheon of many deities worshipped:

  • Ukko

The sky god and chief deity in the Finnish pantheon. Actually most Finnish neopagans consider Ukko just a god of sky rather than "chief of gods". Imagination of Ukko Ylijumala (Ukko Overgod) has born at Christian era. Some think he is the same as Ilmarinen.

  • Akka

Goddess of fertility, and wife of Ukko; rejected by some as historically dubious

  • Ahti

the sea god

  • Tapio

the forest god

  • Pekko

god of the crops

  • Nyyrikki

the hunter god

  • Mielikki

Goddess of forests and the hunt

  • Ilmarinen

The god of sky and weather. Some consider him to be the same as Ukko.

  • Louhi

God that gives birth to many diseases. Matriarch of the Pohjola ("Northern"), evil place

  • Turisas

The war god; rejected by some as historically dubious

  • Haltijas

elven-like creatures, spirits, gnomes. Other nominations: Pitäjäs/Pitäväs, also ukko (old man) akka (old woman)-of something

  • Lemminkäinen

mythical hero

  • Väinämöinen

Mythical hero, creator god and god of poetry and music and magic

  • Hiisi

holy place and creature

  • Jumi

Fertility god or statue that gives fertility (without being a personal god)

Finnish Neopaganism also includes an element of ancestor worship.

Afterlife

For Finnish Neopagans, the afterlife is a place called Tuonela, and it is a place where several different deities live, including Tuoni.

Festivals

Various folk festivals are followed:

  • Hela, a festival celebrating the coming of spring and the new growing season
  • Juhannus or Ukon juhla, midsummer festival.
  • Kekri, celebration of harvest and the ancestors
  • Joulu, the winter solstice.

Texts

There is no sacred text in Finnish Neopaganism, such as the Christian Bible, but the folk epic of Finland, the Kalevala is sometimes used as it is a collection of folk beliefs describing the gods and goddesses. Still, Kalevala was heavily edited by its writer, Elias Lönnroth, so most Finnish neopagans prefer SKVR. Suomen Kansan Vanhat Runot or SKVR (The old poems of Finnish people) is a massive collection of all collected Finnish poetic folklore and mythology, with 100 000 different poems. SKVR is probably even more important than Kalevala, because it is fully authentic raw material that has not been altered. SKVR is today available on internet http://dbgw.finlit.fi/skvr/skvr-tietokanta.php making the exploration of Finnish mythology a lot easier than earlier.

Worship

Some Finnish Neopagans visit sacred forests, where wooden god-images or sacred stones can sometimes be found. Some celebrate the circling of the year at certain dates, for example by burning bonfires, dancing, sacrificing, or making other kinds of rituals. One ritual, which is also an authentic practice of the ancestors, is to drink a toast for the thunder god Ukko at the midsummer festival (Ukon juhla).