Kekri was an ancient Finnish pagan festival marking both the end of the harvesting season and the end of the calendar year.
At the centre of celebration was a lavish feast. It was believed that having plenty of food on that day would assure next year to be prosperous and the harvest to be profuse. Kekri was a joyful party, people were singing, dancing, laughing and chatting.
The main character of the festival was a Kekri Buck, a young man dressed in a goat like costume. He would roam around the village at night asking for offerings and giving a promise of fertility for land and cattle for the next year’s harvest in return.
After Christianity arrived, Kekri became festival of life and death and it was believed that on that day spirits of dead ancestors come back to the world of living invisible to anyone in order to check if their land had been taken care of. People paid their respects by leaving food for them.
Industrialization has swiped away traditional Kekri festival which got replaced by Christmas and New Year. But in some parts of Finland Kekri is still actively celebrated.
Viaporin Kekri is an ancient tradition brought back and rejuvenated to become a new shared experience for Helsinki citizens and visitors.
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