Kalevala Women’s Association

The Kalevala Women's Association (Kalevalaisten Naisten Liitto) is a women's cultural and traditional organisation that has been promoting the status of women and the Finnish cultural heritage since the  1930s. It started when the author Elsa Heporauta wanted to erect a statue in honour of Finnish women and culture. To finance the project, jewellery was made for sale from the prehistoric collections of the National Museum. The Kalevala jewellery brand was born. Company is founded, managed and owned by women. Further more the owner is the Kalevala Women's Association.

The inspiration behind the activities of the Kalevala Women's Association and Kalevala Jewellery was the national epic of the Finns and Karelians: Kalevala. Elias Lönnrot compiled it in the 19th century based on old Finnish Karelian folk poems. On the initiative of the Kalevala Women’s Association, Kalevala is currently being sought for European Heritage Label through a broad Finnish cultural network.

We operate in cultural networks and participate in the implementation of UNESCO's Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Our local associations play a key role in preserving living heritage: we practice, revitalise and renew customs and traditions.

We support and promote cultural activities that are in line with our values. During its existence, the Kalevala Women’s Association has been involved in charitable work in many ways. After the Second World War, the Association set up rest homes for needy mothers and immigrant homes for refugees, and together with Kalevala Koru Foundation, we support Finnish Culture by awarding grants.

Kalevala Koru's products are designed and manufactured in Finland. The company is committed to sustainable practices such as the use of solar and wind power. Used Kalevala jewellery is bought back through the "Pidetty" service, where the jewellery is cleaned before being resold. The company supports women and girls through a variety of projects in Finland and internationally.

Finnish women were the first in the world to demand and gain universal suffrage and this same courage carries us today. We want Finnish nature, language, culture and traditions to be visible and heard. We are involved in this work with our 49 local associations and approximately 2 500 members in Finland and Sweden. Welcome to join us in enriching our traditions!




Brief history:

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 lead in Finland by the Finnish Heritage Agency to preserve the intangible cultural heritage.