28.2. The Day of Kalevala and Finnish Culture
KALEVALA is the Finnish National Epic compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Finnish and Karelian folklore in the 19th century. The Kalevala Day is celebrated in Finland on the 28th of February. That is when Elias Lönnrot dated his first version of the Kalevala in 1835.
The same day is also the Day of Finnish Culture due to the fact that Kalevala has had such a widespread influence on Finnish culture and history from music to fine arts. For example Akseli Gallen-Kallela painted many famous pieces relating to and inspired by Kalevala, and twelve of the classical composer Jean Sibelius' best known works are based upon and influenced by the Kalevala. Kalevala is seen to have inspired the national awakening that ultimately led to Finland's independence in 1917.
Kalevala has been translated at least into forty-nine languages so far. The most famous example of Kalevala's influence on another author outside Finland is most likely J.R.R. Tolkien. Echoes of Kalevala's characters (especially of Väinämöinen) can be found e.g. in the wizards of The Lord of the Rings.
The beloved children's book Koirien Kalevala (The Canine Kalevala) written and illustrated by Mauri Kunnas inspired the American cartoonist Don Rosa to draw a Donald Duck story based on Kalevala. That story is called The Quest for Kalevala.
Kalevala can also be seen in several names of Finnish people, places, companies, and products. For example in Tampere many streets in Kaleva area are named after Kalevala's characters.
Get to know Kalevala! The SITR staff has picked the best ways of expanding your knowledge!
The Finnish Literature Society was the first publishing house to bring out the Kalevala in book form. Their web site offers information on Kalevala in many languages: http://www.finlit.fi/kalevala/index.php?m=163&l=2
>> SUOMEKSI - About this topic in Finnish: Kalevalan päivä – suomalaisen kulttuurin päivä 28.2.
(28 Feb 2012)