Sami Maaranen
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Kekri - a harvest festival

Kekri - a harvest festival

Nov 06, 2022

Kekri is an ancient Finnish turn-of-the-year and harvest celebration festival. It wasn't tied to a permanent date but was celebrated when the annual agricultural activities were all accomplished and the harvest collected. It carries similarities to celtic samhain, and the halloween.

The remembrance and presence of the dead was an important part of Kekri tradition. The spirits of the deceased relatives were welcomed to return and honored in many ways. Sauna was prepared for them, and festive food offered. The living celebrated accordingly.

Kekri goat

People also visited friends and neighbors dressed up as masked characters called kekripukki (kekri goat), or kekritär (kekri-ess). That sort of dressing up is a tradition I follow, but usually then only sneak around at our own yard. Now, here's a series of photos about my kekri goat character this year.

Pumpkin lantern

Halloween has made the pumpkin lanterns very familiar, but carving vegetable lanterns is a tradition also known in ancient Finland. Instead of pumpkins, turnips were for the purpose. These lanterns are fun to make, and I'm not too picky about the exact vegetable, so this year we made a "pumpkin cat lantern". The pumpkin was a little harvest present from Erkka who grows them among many other crops. Our pumpkin lantern design is self-invented, and it was a great success. Here's how the pumpkin turned into a glowing grinning cat.

The carving operation has started.

Like so!

As the Kekri also involves feasting with harvest the "brains of the pumpkin cat" were used to make a delicious pie.

The end of the crop year

Some of you may remember that one of the first proper posts here was about Kota gardening. That project provided more fun, beauty and pleasure rather than abundant harvest but we still ate little something from there all through the summer. Potatoes were the last thing we harvested, and that ended the crop year in the Kota garden.

And maybe you're interested to know that those Kekri goat photos were taken inside the Kota garden so that structure served us in many ways all through the crop year, into the turn-of-the-year moods. And now the winter awaits.

Lastly, a little something seriously from behind the scenes. A kekri goat under construction ... Fooling around while planning the character outlook.

Take care everyone, and happy celebrations for whatever seasonal events you might be involved in.

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