Heroes in the national epic of Finland «Kalevala»

UDC 398.224 BBK 84.2

Nissinen M. K.

Elias Lönnrot (1802-1884), a linguist and folklorist, created «Kalevala», the national epic of Finland, in the XIX century. As a result, during several travels to Eastern Finland and over the border to Russian Karelia, as well as to Estonia, he collected and put together at first 32, and afterwards 50 runes telling about the rise of a mystic country of Kalevala. In Kalevala, the inhabitants are fighting under the guidance of old and wise Väinämöinen – the leader of the people – against Pohjola, a land of evil, for a magic grinder Sampo that brings wealth and well-being to its owners.

«Kalevala» introduces us to ordinary people as well as people of a different kind – most of the protagonists in the epic – that have special abilities: Väinämöinen can drive his opponents into a swamp just by singing and playing “kantele”, blacksmith Ilmarinen forges Sampo and mighty Lemminkäinen is fighting against all. «Kalevala» also tells us, among other things, about love, hate and friendship, how the world was born and iron and steel were emerged.

«Kalevala» has had in many ways a great influence on Finnish culture and the life of Finnish people. When in the XIX century, the Finnish as a nation with own identity, language and culture was starting to become a reality, it was necessary to have a book that would be telling about the great past of the people. «Kalevala» in a certain way accomplished this.

Key words: Kalevala, national epic, Elias Lönnrot, Sampo, Väinämöinen

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