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Religions indigènes / néo-paganisme

Already in the 1980s-1990s groups connected to neo-shamanism and Wicca spread from abroad to Finland. Pagan groups were small and scattered, and their continuation was in the hands of individual people. Since the late 1990s pagan movement grew, diversified and spread due to multiplication of TV shows and movies, and this had influence also in Finland. Internet made it possible to create united networks, providing a new sense of belonging to the scattered individuals and groups.

The term ‘pagan’ has still a rather negative echo in Finland and it can be used to describe a person who, for example, is an atheist, unreligious, or does not share the common Christian world view and supposedly not the same values either. However, ‘pagan’ has lately been also appearing as a religious identity of a person or a group, giving a name to a very specific type of world view. Wicca is one example of the pagan movements that have landed in Finland, too. Inspiration, models, and narratives are often searched from pre-Christian traditions and from the traditions of indigenous people as well as from other cultures, myths, and legends. In Finland pagans are still a very marginal group, with 35 official members (2015), as there is a compilation of statistics on only one group called ‘People of the Bear’ (in Finnish : Karhun kansa). It practises Finnish traditions by respecting ancestors and spirits of the nature and by upholding the traditions. It was registered as a religious community in 2013, giving paganism an official status as a religion.

People of the Bear and other pagan associations create and uphold networks, arrange and coordinate bigger yearly events, and advocate causes they find important such as protecting old, holy places. Strong connection to nature is a specific link to paganism in Finland. Local units of the associations and other groups arrange regular meetings and yearly celebrations and rituals. Some of these are open for public and others only for the members of the associations or for smaller groups. Activities are arranged at least in every university city, but throughout the country there are some individual pagans and those who are in smaller groups, with a variety of how much they have connections to Finnish or international groups and associations.

D 24 juin 2021    AAnita Sipilä

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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