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Celebrating Mikael Agricola Day in Finland

Celebrating Mikael Agricola Day in Finland

Mikael Agricola Day, otherwise known as Finnish Language Day, is a special holiday for honoring the creation of written Finnish and the man behind it: Mikael Agricola. In this article, you’ll learn about who Mikael Agricola was, how he contributed to the creation of Finnish literature, and how you can celebrate this holiday.

Let’s get started!

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1. What is the Day of Mikael Agricola?

Mikael Agricola Day is more commonly known as Finnish Language Day (Suomen kielen päivä). However, there’s a large focus on Agricola, who is considered the father of Finnish literature.

Mikael Agricola’s Role in Finnish Literature History

Agricola, born in 1510, was both a piispa (“bishop” ) and kääntäjä (“translator”). He spent many years of his life studying and serving in various clergy roles; in 1528, he also worked as a scribe.

Mikael Agricola is credited with creating the modern-day basis for the spelling and orthography of the Finnish language. With this new written Finnish, Agricola began translating parts of the Bible (Raamattu) in 1537.

Another one of his most famous accomplishments for the Finnish language was the aapinen, which is also called the “ABC book” or “ABC kirja.” The Mikael Agricola ABC kirja served as a primer to help people learn to read, and it also contained information about his religious doctrine.

2. When is Mikael Agricola Day?

Mikael Agricola Day is on April 9

Each year, Finnish people celebrate the Day of Mikael Agricola on April 9. This is the date in 1557 that Agricola died, and is also the date of birth of another Finnish man who helped grow the language: Elias Lönnrot.

3. How Can You Celebrate Mikael Agricola Day?

An Open Book in Front of a Row of Books

There are no official celebrations or traditions for Mikael Agricola Day in Finland, though people will oftentimes raise the Finnish flag on this day.

To honor Mikael Agricola, Finland has a church named after him: The Mikael Agricola Church in Helsinki. This Lutheran church was built in the early 1930s, and today, it’s a favorite among many Helsinki tourists. There are also two monuments dedicated to Agricola in Russia, near the Finnish border.

If you’re not able to actually visit Finland, why not try your hand at some Finnish literature?

4. What About Lönnrot?

Earlier, we mentioned that a man named Elias Lönnrot is also highly commended for his work in Finnish literature.

In particular, he’s well-known for creating a written piece called Kalevala. This was a composition of various oral poems and stories from certain regions in Finland, Lapland, and Russia.

    → To learn more about famous composers of Finnish literature, read our article on the famous Finnish-Swedish writer and poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg!

5. Essential Vocabulary for Mikael Agricola’s Day

Finnish Flag Design in a Speech Bubble

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for the Day of Mikael Agricola!

  • Isä — “Father”
  • Kirjallisuus — “Literature”
  • Kääntäjä — “Translator”
  • Sana — “Word”
  • Suomen kielen päivä — “Finnish Language Day”
  • Suomen kieli — “Finnish language”
  • Piispa — “Bishop”
  • Raamattu — “Bible”
  • Aapinen — “ABC book”
  • Opiskelu` — “Studying”

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Finnish Day of Mikael Agricola vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Mikael Agricola Day and the origins of modern written Finnish.

In honor of literature, let us know in the comments what your favorite book is! It can be Finnish or in another language. We look forward to hearing from you!

If you’re fascinated with Finnish culture and can’t get enough, we recommend that you visit the following pages on

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