Thursday, November 23, 2017

Finnish mythical creatures

Eero Ojanen 2017: Suomalaiset taruolennot
illustrated by Sirkku Linnea

The Finnish folklore has a sprite for everything in nature. Through these creatures people explained, how the world was created and why the different phenomena appeared.

This book is divided into sections of different creature types. First come the giants, then the dwarfs (such as gnomes, elves, fairies and leprechauns).

 One section is given to the creatures from Kalevala, one for Forest folks, one for the protectors of plants. There are creatures that live underwater, those who help and care for people and animals. Then there are those, who are plain weird and those whose only purpose is to make life difficult.  The last section is describes different mythical animals in the stories.

Hiisi, a kind of devil likes to build from stones
Some of the names of these creatures live in the Finnish language: hitto is used like a swearword "damn", just like "hiisi vieköön" (may the devil take...).  To this day, children play "Hippa" (tag), which was a creature that chased animals in the forest so the hunters could catch them.

Some of the locations got its name from a creature like Kouvola. Kouvo is a messenger of death and was widely feared.

Some of the less known creatures are:
Ägräs, the god of agriculture
Kiputyttö, the maid of underworld, reliever of pain
Rahko, the painter of moon
Madderakka, the saami protecor of women
Liekkiö, dead child that haunts people
Aarni, the protector of hidden treasures
Para, secure the milk production, later on protect sheep and grains
Nyrkes, the force that makes things happen

The gnomes like to live in peace in the forest

Wikipedia gives a great list of Finnish mythology. Godchecker also lists some of Finnish gods. Even though, joulupukki is never written with a Y.

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