Video is in Finnish. You can get the English subtitles from the lower right corner. Filmed when I was between apartments and stayed couple weeks at my friend´s guest room (thanks Katie, you saved me).
In Finnish folklore one of the most common elements that you can find is that everything in nature is personified. Pakkanen (Frost) or Pakkas-Poika (Frost boy) is one of these things. Within the folklore Frost is a mischievous young boy. His parents are most often told to beLouhi, the goddess of winter and shamans and his father is Puhuri (cold, powerful wind) or Pakkasukko (The Frostman).
Parents of Frost and Frost as a character can also simply work as a metaphor. Back in the days practising of wind magic and shamans who were devoted to that particular craft were very common. This leads back to the shamanic concept of emuu. Emuu is an old Finno-ugric word for a mother (emo is an old Finnish word for a mother but now days it refers to an animal mother, äiti which is modern Finnish word for mother has Baltic origins). but it is also a gender neutral word and refers to a creator. Someone who can light the sparkle of life into non-living things (such as snow, stones, rocks, sunlight).
In Finnish folk magic when a person knew the origins of a disease they had greater chances to heal the disease. When performing the healing ritual they would sing or chant the origin words connected to the disease or the injury they were about to heal.
If a person had severe frostbites they would chant the words of the frost. One could also say the words aloud before they went outside to protect themselves from the Frost. Words were used to scare the Frost and prevent them from touching the person.
Words Against Frostbite
Sharp Frost, the son of Blast (Puhuri), ice crusty, wintry boy, now hast thoug hurt a human skin, hast sorely injured a mother´s son, destroyed a woman´s progency, for sapless has the man become, the stalwart man insensible. Sharp Frost, the son of Puhuri, come now to recognise thy work, to remedy thine evil deeds; if thou hast bitten, heal the bite, if thou hast touched, undo the harm, or else thy mother shall tell, to thy father I shall make it known. Enormous trouble a mother has, when treading her sons footsteps, effacing traces he has left, anointing sores that the he has made.
Sharp cold, the son of Näräppä, hard-frozen wintry boy, where shall I exorcise thee now? Thee do I exorcise forthwith to distant limits of the North, to the flat, open lands of Lapps. There is it nice for Cold to live, for Chilly Weather to abide. There thou will level trampled ground, wilt slay a reindeer out at grass, wilt eat flesh lying close at hand, wilt gnaw the bone that´s near to thee.
Since thou dost pay no heed, thereto, I exercise thee forth into the belly of Pakkanen (sharp cold), the fervid paunch of the frosty blast. As there thou mayst not find a place, depart to where I order thee, flee to the clouds above, thou wintry weather, to the sky, cease injuring a christened man, destroying one that is baptised.
- The Magic songs of the Finns by Elias Lönnrot
As you can see from the poem it has Christian and Pagan elements combined. Time when the chants were collected started rather early on, already in the 17th century and for a very long time different belief systems lived side by side.
Similar characters to Pakkanen can be found from other myths as well. Check my post onJack the Frost.
If you'd like to participate in constructive online conversations about this essay, please do leave comments and share in your social media networks.
Pronounced as Nee-na.
Artist, illustrator, writer, watercolorist and a folklorist. Gryffinclaw. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea and period dramas.
Love fandoms AOGG and Little Women (prefers books over the films). Louisa May Alcott researcher.
Please keep the comment section civil, respectful and connected to the topic at hand. Thank you. Spammy/passive-agressive comments will be blocked and reported.
Get 2 free weeks on Skillshare.