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27 June 2017

Kekri

Walpurgis Night Held at the end of the autumn, the ancient festival of Kekri was very important. At a time when most Finns were farmers, celebrations and festivals were mostly based around important farming dates. Kekri was a harvest festival originating in pagan times and it signalled the arrival of the New Year. Each farmer would set up a feast for the spirits of the dead to thank them for the growing of the year's crops.

At the festival future events were foretold through the pouring of molten tin into water. This would form into a random shape from whose shadows the future could be told. The tradition of foretelling the future is still popular among Finnish families at New Year.

Kekri's importance diminished after the introduction of Christianity to Finland in the 12th century. It has since become assimilated into the Christmas and New Years celebrations, but many habits and customs have survived, for instance the eating of food such as ham has its roots in pagan times. It has also been argued that the modern Finnish 'Santa Claus' or Joulupukki originates from the ancient figure Kekripukki.

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