Finnish mythology survived as oral tradition well into the 18th century.
Based on animistic beliefs, the Finnish uphold one of the very few primitive religious traditions in Western Europe, albeit in a secularized form. The rites of the hunt (Peijainen), harvest and sowing etc. may well be held as social events, but the spiritual undercurrent is not totally absent.
Although the gradual influence of surrounding cultures raised the significance of the skygod in a monolatristic manner, he was originally just a naturespirit like all the others. The one whose name was never uttered by the Finns was the spirit whose carnal form is known in English as bear.
While active and committed belief in the ancient gods of Finland is limited to minor and mutually contradictory groups of neopagans and mostly solitary keepers of an unbroken longstanding tradition, there are still plenty of moments in most Finns life in which they unselfconciously invoke one or more of the traditional spirits, or obey the customs about how not to offend them.
The first historical mention of the beliefs of the Finns is by the bishop Mikael Agricola in his introduction to the Finnish translation of the New Testament in 1551. He describes many of the gods and spirits of the Tavastians and Karelians. Surprisingly much more wasn't written down before Elias Lönnrot compiled the Kalevala.
|Table of contents|
2 Finnish mythical places:
3 Finnish mythical artifacts:
Finnish legendary heroes, gods and spirits:
Finnish mythical places:
See also: Kalevala, Norse mythology