J.L. Runeberg’s Day

5 Feb

February 5 is Runebergin päivä, a holiday to celebrate the birthday of Finland’s National Poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804–1877). His most celebrated poem, Fänrik Ståls sägner recounts the Swedish War of 1808-1809, but he mostly wrote (in Swedish) about the toils of life of farm life in Finland.

Who has given the wind wisdom,
Lent the air a tongue so lightsome,
Ready speech to the yard’s rowan,
And the small birds’ tender bevy?

–from ‘All Seemed to Be Speaking, Speaking’

translated by C.E. Tallqvist – ‘Tala, tala tycktes alla’ in Ett litet öde, 1845, source

Many people celebrate this holiday with runebergintorttu, the round pastry pictured below, Runeberg’s favorite breakfast.


5 Responses to “J.L. Runeberg’s Day”

  1. dave February 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    every great poet should have a national day. i mean, we have a national day for a friggin rodent (feb. 2nd). and every poet’s day should be celebrated with that poet’s work, and favorite breakfast. this one looks absolutely sinful!

    • hellosinki February 5, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

      I don’t think that we have any holidays devoted to poets in the US! Isn’t that just wrong?

  2. nikki February 5, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    What is in that lovely little Rungentortu? Instead of holidays, all poets should have a pastry named after them.

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