Finnish Moons

All four of my grandparents emigrated individually to the United States from Finland so I have a strong connection to all things Finnish. This series, inspired by the names of the Finnish months, consists of of 12 handmade-paper collages on round 20″ diameter canvases. The names mostly come from ancient words associated with the farming year in Finland and are not related to the old Roman calendar. Pearl moon is the most poetic name, the others seem to me to be practical and earthy.

  1. Tammikuu, January, is “Oak Moon” – the middle or core of winter.
  2. Helmikuu, February, is “Pearl Moon” -describing pearls of ice frozen on branches.
  3. Maaliskuu, March, is “Earth Moon” – when patches of bare earth appear in the snow.
  4. Huhtikuu, April, is “Clearing Moon” – referring to forests being cleared to make space for new fields.
  5. Toukokuu, May, is “Planting Moon” – making it clear what the farmers are doing in May.
  6. Kesakuu, June, is “Summer Moon” – when the fields are worked and cared for.
  7. Heinakuu, July, is “Hay Moon” – to mark the cutting and storing of hay.
  8. Elokuu, August, is “Harvest Moon” – another self-explanatory name.
  9. Syyskuu, September, is “Autumn Moon” – and is the first month of the Fall in Finland.
  10. Lokakuu, October, is “Mud Moon” – which may not be poetic but is certainly descriptive of the mud and slush formed by rain and the first snows.
  11. Marraskuu, November, is “Death Moon” – referring to a time when nothing appears to be growing. I used the image from Finnish folklore of a swan guarding the entrance to the Underworld for this piece.
  12. Joulukuu, December, is “Festival Moon” – The word Joulu can be translated as Christmas. This didn’t make sense to me given how ancient the month names are. I later learned that when the Finns converted to Christianity they didn’t bother to change the word from Yule to Christmas, they just changed the meaning.

Please click on the title beneath an image for a closer look.