Kalevala Day

Kalevala Day

February 28
The Kalevala is Finland's national epic poem, researched and transcribed by Dr. Elias Lönnrot (1802-1835). Lönnrot and his assistants traveled throughout the country, asking people to tell them whatever they could remember about the folklore surrounding Kalevala, the "Land of Heroes." On February 28, 1835, after years of research, Lönnrot signed the preface to the first edition of the poem. Its more than 20,000 verses brought to life the adventures of such characters as the warrior Lemminkäinen and the blacksmith Ilmarinen, who played a part in the creation of the world when he forged the "lids of heaven." This event marked a turning point in Finnish literature; up to this point, little had been written in the Finnish language. Lönnrot is honored with parades and concerts on this day.
CONTACTS:
Finnish Literature Society
Hallituskatu 1
P.O. Box 259
Helsinki, 00171 Finland
358-20-1131-231; fax: 358-9-1312-3220
www.finlit.fi/index.php?lang=eng
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 34
BkFest-1937, p. 111
BkHolWrld-1986, Feb 28
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