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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Finland Series at FinnishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Finnish holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 12, All Saints' Day. In Finnish, it’s called pyhäinpäivä.
All Saints' Day is a memorial day for Christian saints, martyrs, and the departed, which has its roots in the Middle Ages. In this lesson, we will find out which traditions are associated with All Saints' Day for the Finnish.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know what köyrimöröt, köyriättäret, and the fairy godmothers of abundance are?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Originally, All Saints' Day was celebrated on November 1, but in Finland it’s now always celebrated on a Saturday that occurs no sooner than October 31 and no later than November 6. All Saints' Day activities were moved to Saturdays starting in 1955. The current All Saints' Day combines two medieval ecclesiastic holidays—All Saints' Day, kaikkien pyhien päivä and All Souls' Day, kaikkien uskovien vainajien muistopäivä. The ancient Finnish "kekri" celebration is also related to this day.
In the olden days, Finns would traditionally celebrate the change of the year in the fall, after the crops were harvested and the season's work had come to a close. This was known as the kekri celebration. Originally, the kekri celebration didn’t have a specific purpose, and every village and house celebrated it at their own pace. In the 1800s, the kekri celebration was incorporated into the Christian All Saints' Day, and so the ancient Finnish traditions were blended together with the meanings and traditions of Christianity into one single day.
All Saints' Day is celebrated in many countries as a rollicking Halloween party, when it’s believed that the deceased spirits, or henget, and ghosts, or haamut, come back to walk the Earth once more. Old Finnish kekri celebration beliefs also have similar qualities. Though Halloween as a carnival is not very significant in Finland, All Saints' Day is celebrated quietly and earnestly. On All Saints' Day, candles, or kynttilät, are lit in churches to commemorate the parishioners who have passed away during the year. Many Finnish people will also light candles and bring winter flowers, such as heather, or kanerva, to the graves of their deceased relatives.
All Saints' Day included a lot of magic in the olden days. Houses were cleaned, saunas were prepared, and food was kept on the table all night, so that the guests arriving from the afterlife could also enjoy the hospitality of the house.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know what köyrimöröt, köyriättäret, and the fairy godmothers of abundance are?
These were characters disguised as freaks that in the olden days, during the kekri celebration, would go from house to house and demand hospitality.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
How do you spend All Saints' Day?
Leave us a comment at FinnishPod101.com, and see you again in the next class!