2nd Annual Kalevalathon to be held on Feb. 28

A Kalevala celebration

Kalevalathon is back again for another year. Join students and faculty in celebration of Kalevala Day on Friday, Feb. 28 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Finnish American Heritage Center as they read the Finnish epic poem, the Kalevala.

“February 28 is Kalevala Day in Finland, which commemorates Finnish culture, the Kalevala epic and the notion of Sisu, all of which are important to our campus as well,” said Dr. Hilary-Joy Virtanen, Assistant Professor of Finnish & Nordic Studies. “Holding a marathon reading of the epic on or around Kalevala Day seemed an appropriate way to do this. Having taught a course in Kalevala at Finlandia multiple times over the years, I have seen how engaged the students are with the epic, and I just wanted to share our interest and enthusiasm with everyone else.”

The event is free, open to the public and people can come and go as they please. The goal is to get through as many of the 50 runes as possible, which Dr. Virtanen estimates could take as many as 14 hours to complete. She says it is fun to see how many they can read as a group in the six hour time frame.

“Kalevala poetry has it all- mythological characters, magic, love and marriage, war and death,” said Dr. Virtanen. “It is also an important symbol of Finnish culture both here and in Finland, but surprisingly, very few people directly engage with the poetry. This is a chance to see what it is all about.”

Come for your lunch break (bring your lunch), come between classes, come with your classes, or be like Dr. Virtanen and stay for the whole day. Copies of the Kalevala will be available for people to read from, including copies in Finnish. If you are interested in reading in another language, reach out to Dr. Virtanen directly at hilary.virtanen@finlandia.edu.


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