Calgary Finlandia Cultural Association

CIFF 2017 Finnish Films

This year there are a series of Finnish films at the Calgary International Film Festival. Follow the links to view information about each film and showtimes.


Article about modern Finnish Lament

Here is a link to an article about Dr. Jim Wilce’s research on the revival of Finnish lament traditions. Dr. Wilce (Linguistic Anthropologist, Northern Arizona University) gave a wonderful talk to CFCA members this past winter 2017.

CFCA Spring/Summer 2017 Events


Viking Hall, Scan. Centre, 4:30-7:30 pm.

Guest speakers Tom Watrous, Suzanne McKegney and Patrick Kroboth.

Get-Yourself-There event planned afterwards (TBA).


Saturday, May 6, 2017: MOTHER’S DAY POTLUCK.

Valhalla Room, Scan. Centre, 4:30-6:30 pm.

Everyone welcome. Please bring potluck food item.



Overnight trip open to all seniors, 60 years or older. See poster under May 2017 Events tab.


Saturday, June 24, 2017: MIDSUMMER CELEBRATION.

Picnic Site #2 at Edworthy Park, 3:00-9:00 pm. All welcome.

Pancakes provided by CFCA.

Please bring additional dish to share & BBQ items for yourself.




Some Other Upcoming Events:

  • Kaurismäki Movie Month: Leningrad Cowboys Trilogy (10, 17 & 24 Sept. 2017)
  • Seniors Three-Day trip to Jasper National Park (Sept./Oct. 2017)
  • Oula Seitsonen, Lapland’s Dark Heritage Project (9 Nov. 2017, 6:30 pm)
  • Baking workshops and cooking classes (Fall 2017)

March 16 – Happy St Urho Day!

CFCA Board wishes all our members a Happy St. Urho Day. If you are not aware of this very serious Finnish-American/Finnish-Canadian holiday, here is a bit of information from

The legend of St. Urho originated in Northern Minnesota in the 1950s. However, there are differing opinions as to whether it began with the fables created by Sulo Havumaki of Bemidji, or the tongue-in-cheek tales told by Richard Mattson of Virginia. Either way, the legend has grown among North Americans of Finnish descent to the point where St. Urho is known and celebrated across the United States and Canada, and even in Finland.

St. Urho’s Day is celebrated on March 16th, the day prior to the better-known feast of some minor saint from Ireland, who was alleged to have driven the snakes from that island.

The legend of St. Urho says he chased the grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, thus saving the grape crop and the jobs of Finnish vineyard workers. He did this by uttering the phrase: “Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen” (roughly translated: “Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell!”). His feast is celebrated by wearing the colors Royal Purple and Nile Green. St. Urho is nearly always represented with grapes and grasshoppers as part of the picture.

Saint Urho has been recognized with proclamations in all 50 states. Minnesota Governor Wendell Anderson issued a proclamation in his state, the unofficial home of Saint Urho, in 1975.

We hope you enjoy our “After St. Urho’s Day” event on March 17 (see events listings). Feel free to share your St Urho experiences in the reply section below.


March Madness at CFCA

We have some major events happening at CFCA this month, part of our ongoing celebration of the 100th anniversary of Finnish Independence. Please join us!

Kaurismäki Movie MonthKaurismäki Movie Month!

We will be showing a series of films by Aki Kaurismäki as part of our 100 years of Finnish Independence celebrations.

Learn more about this important Finnish film director and screenwriter:äki

Valhalla Room, Scan. Centre, 5pm.

$5 fee for refreshments and snacks.

Sunday, March 5, 2017: Rikos ja rangaistus – Crime and punishment
Sunday, March 12, 2017: Varjoja Paratiisissa – Shadows in Paradise
Sunday, March 19, 2017: Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö – The match factory girl
Sunday, March 26, 2017: Laitakaupungin valot – Lights in the Dusk




Friday, March 17, 2017
Valhalla Room, Scandinavian Centre, 739 – 20th Ave. NW, Calgary, AB, T2M 1E2

Dr. Jim Wilce
(Dept. of Anthropology, Northern Arizona University)

Talk titled —
Healing Lament, or
How I Discovered That Finns are “In To” Emotions These Days

6:30 to 7:00 pm – Refreshments/snacks
7:00 to 8:30 pm – Talk by Dr. Wilce
After 8:30 pm – “Get Yourself There” event to celebrate. Location TBA.


Onnellista Uutta Vuotta 2017!

helsinki-nye.jpegHappy New Year 2017 and Happy Suomi 100 and Canada 150! We hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday and are looking forward to an amazing 2017, including many celebrations in honour of the 100th anniversary of Finnish Independence and the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

A great way to start celebrating is by taking a look at the National Film Board of Canada’s website, where you can view many of their films for free or for a small rental fee. Their film database includes films about Finnish-Canadians, or are set in Finland, or films directed by Finnish people. Check out the following link (we have queried “Finland” for you) and enjoy!

The Finns at Trochu, Alberta

img_1491CFCA is proud to promote The Finns at Trochu: a book written by CFCA member Shirley Adam.

The book tells of the Finnish Community that once prospered between Trochu and Three Hills (North East of Calgary).  In 1905 six Finnish Homesteaders came to settle in the area followed by many more of their countrymen.  As more Finns arrived in the area to settle they chose land in close proximity to each other resulting in a strong, lively community.

The book gives a background look into Finnish history, reasons for leaving their country, immigration to North America, and Finnish cultural notes.  Points of interest in the local community are discussed, and stories and pictures of the Finnish families that lived in the area are included.

You can read more about the book in the upcoming CFCA members’ newsletter (Dec/Jan), and the book can be purchased from the author (call 403-443-2175) for $20 plus shipping and handling.



Choirs, Baking, Cycling, and Sibelius

The last couple weeks have been quite busy for CFCA members.

On October 16 we had the first of two baking classes, where members learned to make pulla and jelly rolls. We had an exceptional turn out for the event, both older and younger (and much younger) members, which pleased our instructors immensely. The new oven at the Scan Centre is amazing, and we completed many quadruple braided loaves of pulla, and many strawberry and raspberry jelly rolls. In between baking, many members also tried their hand at making various Christmas crafts, including Christmas gnomes (tonttu).

The following Tuesday we were treated to a choir event put on by the Sävelvakka Finnish singing group. It was a beautiful night of song, flowers, and delicious candies from Finland (yum!).

On Friday, the 21st of October, many CFCA members attended the talk by Ken Myhre, hosted by the Scandinavian Cultural Society. Ken talked about his two most recent trips to Iceland — one a biking trip around the country, and the other a hiking trip into the interior. Ken’s exquisite photography brought his tales to life, and we are now all planning our own trips to Iceland.

img_1392Finally, on Sunday, Oct. 23rd, our long-planned Evening with Sibelius finally took place. Tom Watrous and Suzanne McKegney, former members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, came to share with us their love of the great Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius. They were accompanied by visiting Finnish Opera Singer, Kirsi Tiihonen and Pianist/Composer Mark Limacher You can read more about this event in our Winter (December/January) members’ newsletter.


Sauna Culture

This recent article from The Globe and Mail discusses the culture of cleansing around the world, including the Finnish sauna. It examines the past, present, and future roles of public baths in our communities.

Waiting for the savusauna to heat. Northern Savonia, Finland. (Photo by M. Peuramäki, 2014.)

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