KALEVALAISTEN NAISTEN LIITTO
Kalevala Women’s Association
Kuva: Riikka Lempiäinen / Kansallispukukolmoset
Kalevala Women’s Association is a cultural organization in search of new aspects in tradition. Come and join our network of like-minded cultural heritage people!
Kalevala Women’s Association operates in Finland and Sweden. Kalevala is the Finnish national epic, a 19th century work compiled from folk poetry. It’s our Iliad and Odyssey. We’re in search of everything that reminds us of our roots in the mythical past and the ways of our ancestors. To put it another way: tales from the Kalevala in our times. The Association was founded in 1935 on the initiative of Elsa Heporauta, a Finnish writer.
Our organization of 52 associations across Finland and Sweden has 3,000 members who all share that same passion for our cultural heritage and mythical past – and have our ways to make this heritage come alive today and beyond.
We aim to help Finnish culture to progress and at the same time to learn from other cultures. Traditions and culture are the main themes in our meetings and events. We organize cultural events like Kalevala Day festivals and trips to interesting cultural heritage destinations. We visit museums and art galleries, discuss literature in our book clubs, go together to listen to folk music in various events and provide practical support for Finnish national dress and Iron Age Finnish Costumes and in all ways imaginable to find ways to enjoy our culture.
One expression of our interest in our history can be found in the collection of items in our own jewelry brand, Kalevala Koru.
1935 Elsa Heporauta, a Finnish writer, founded the Association for Finnish Women in the same year as Finns celebrated the centenary of Kalevala, the Finnish national epic.
1937 On the initiative of Heporauta, Kalevala Women created a collection of Finnish jewelry, the design of which was inspired by Finnish Iron Age jewelry.
1941–1945 During the Second World War Kalevala Women supported children of modest families, Karelian and Ingrian immigrants, and founded homes for mothers.
1946–1967 Kalevala Women founded the restaurant Kestikartano. It was inspired by Kalevala and the restaurant was very popular in its day. The restaurant was based on traditional Finnish architecture and the furnishings represented modern Finnish design.
1956– Local summer festivals around Finland. Festivals were organized to celebrate local traditions, culture and history.
1961– Kalevala Women founded the magazine Pirta in order to spread the word of Kalevala, traditions and also modern culture and published some books about the Finnish cultural heritage.
Today Nowadays, Kalevala Women participates in welcoming immigrants to Finnish society by inviting them to our events. The best way to learn from different cultures and share our own is by spending some time together exchanging our stories, recipes and traditional dances. We organize cultural events based on various themes ranging from ancient Finnish spells to the latest ways of honoring the art of storytelling. Since 2017, the Association has been part of the Unesco project leaded in Finland by the Finnish Heritage Agency to preserve the intangible cultural heritage.