Pre-Christmas influence over time

The History of the Pre-Christmas holiday celebrations in Finland has evolved over time. It has been forged and shaped  by the two opposed traditions and  belief systems, that had celebrations at the end of the year.  With the natural organic ancient pagan worship, and later on in Christianity.

The mid-winter solstice celebrated and recognized in all corners of the world by indigenous peoples.  The pagan celebrations at the autumn harvest time,  with a magic evoking person dressed as the rich yield harvest for the produce of the land.

There were several Christmas day festivals celebrated earlier in history.  Later on, the autumn festival was moved to the midwinter solstices and combined. These celebrations have become a regular part of the Nordic countries culture, and very well accepted as a very positive use of the holiday free time.  Pre-Christianity the pagan festival ritual person would carry goat horns and was personified as a goat of the harvest.



According to Mikael Agricolan kekri was a name given to a god-like mystical figure.

The original meaning for the word Kekri is not certain, whether it was a name for a pagan god, or a name for a celebration of the harvest festival. For some kekri was a god-like figure that evoked fear in peoples.  Mikael Agricolan.

The word Kekri has been used in a mixed bag fashion, used for the All Saints day, or for the Feast of the All Saints Day celebrated in November according to the Catholic Church.
Also used to describe the late autumn sowing of rye seeds, and the word Kekri used also to describe a ghost or a monster.

So there is a mixture of religion, heresy, and superstition by those that used the word Kekri  for a descriptive term.

Early in history, the kekri celebrations had no fixed calendar date. Sometimes it was used for the late autumn festival and other times for the end of summer festivals.

It was not until early 1800 that the kekri became known as all Saints Day of the first day of November, and later it became the first Sunday of November.

Pre Christmas Kekri celebrations.

Kekri celebrations were the farm workers celebrations. Kekri celebrations were a time for singing, playing and dancing in joy. During the 18 century, it also became the departure celebration of farm workers, when they were moving to another property and master. They maids and the farmhands got a two-week leave before starting work again at a different property.  They were able to return back to their home town, nearby in the neighbor’s district and friends living there.

Because the kekri was at the end of the year, it had similar anticipations of the New Year as today with New Year’s hopes and resolutions and predictions for the New Year, so it gave an opportunity for superstitions and divination.

Sometimes the kekri celebrations got an additional activity like a carnival, with the abundant fairy, a monster and group of jokers, went home visiting and door knocking for payments.  Where a group would dress up in a carnival manner and people were dressed as a Kekri with goat horns, and they wanted attention and tributes paid for their carnival masquerade and a mixture of celebrations and superstition and entrepreneurship.

Pre Christmas bear hide monster with horns.

Masked figures, bear hide and goat horns, the kekripukki was the most feared monster of them all, it could have a bears hide with two men under it and large ladles for horns.  It all sound like they were high on moonshine or magic mushrooms, or just plain pissed by a home brew. Making an extravagant show of letting go, hard years labor and service to their masters. In a way turning the tables and changing the roles between masters, property owners and farmhands and maids.

The catholic church viewed the practice as pagan and did not approve their practices.  And in 1729 the Rautalamin clergy got an order to faithfully teach the Gods instructions and to forsake the pagan magic and witchcraft.


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