Finnish folklore

Finnish folklore

In Finnish folklore, the gods were natural phenomena. The gods were seen as Nature herself, respected by the people who in return received respect from the gods. Tapio was the god of forests, Ahti ruled the lakes and waterways, and the oldest of them all was Ilmarinen the blacksmith who is said to be older than the skies. He was born at night and by early morning, he was already a fully-skilled blacksmith. As the world was completely empty, he made a forge out of his shirt, used his forearms as hammers, transformed his trousers into the chimneys of the furnace and let his knees be an anvil. From this, Ilmarinen forged the skies and the stars, created the northern lights to add wonder to the long wintry nights and welded red into the dawn and the sunset. Väinämöinen is a god even older than Ilmarinen and is the ancient sage and hero of the Kalevala. He is the god of the seas. At the end of the epic, Väinämöinen leaves Finland declaring that his services will be in great need some day.

Apart from the gods, there was a plentiful assortment of goblins, elves, gnomes and ghouls who would help people, especially if left a treat. It was common to leave these mythological characters grain, milk or even money to enlist their help. In Mediaeval times, the Finns were noted for their witchcraft. It was said that any sizable forest within Europe had a Finnish witch and people would travel miles to take their advice or listen to their soothsaying. They were especially well noted for their love charms!