There are over one hundred labyrinths in Finland. Many have been found in the archipelago and the west coast and are thought to have been associated with fishing and hunting magic.In the Swedish folklore of western Finland labyrinths were considered a doorway to the underworld.
There is one created at the Brage Open Air Museum that is modeled after one found in Valsörarna. In folk traditions there is a game where a girl and a boy are tied together and must keep the rope from touching the ground while traveling the paths.
This morsiantanssiin/jungfrudans (bride’s dance, maiden’s dance,virgin’s dance possibly recalls ancient pagan hedelmällisyysriiteistä (fertility rites) when a young woman stood in the middle of the labyrinth and a suitor had to find his way through the maze to her.
photo credit: betterphotography.in
photo by raido_uruz flickr
And me, I’m all alone, feeling the tears falling down from my eyes.
One such Finnish housekeeper found herself a character in an iconic American novel (coming soon to a theater near you)
“I had a dog—at least I had him for a few days until he ran away—and an old Dodge and a Finnish woman, who made my bed and cooked breakfast and muttered Finnish wisdom to herself over the electric stove.”
The Great Gatsby
F Scott Fitzgerald
When Finnish women emigrated to North America around the turn of the century, the first jobs they found were often as maids/housekeepers.
Even though the wages were low it was a chance for them to learn English which was a primary goal for most of them
photo credit: Ontario, Canada archives