Kekri was an ancient Finnish festival marking both the end of the harvesting season and the end of the calendar year. Kekri usually took place at the beginning of November. People celebrated life and harvest by generous feasting and honoured those who passed away through different rituals.
On October 31st, 2015, a long-lost Finnish tradition of the festival of Kekri was revived on the shores of Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. It received a name of Viaporin Kekri and after its initial success turned into an annual event with 2021 marking the seventh time of it happening. The festival changes and evolves each year bravely trying out new ideas, but staying loyal to its own established traditions.
Created with respect and consideration for Suomenlinna’s past, Viaporin Kekri is an opportunity to explore Finnish history, a modern interpretation of an old tradition, and an experiment in creating new meanings out of centuries-old believes and customs. It gives its visitors a unique chance to explore and experience Suomenlinna islands from a new perspective and see its darkest corners that are usually closed for the general public.
Viaporin Kekri is a result of collaboration between Haaga-Helia’s students of Bachelor Degree Programme in Hospitality, Tourism and Experience Management, the Governing Body of Suomenlinna, the island’s service providers, and businesses from mainland Helsinki.
Viaporin Kekri is organized in Suomenlinna for the seventh time this year. Suomenlinna is a cultural treasure which construction began in the mid-18th century, when Finland was still part of Sweden. In 1750, the fortress was named Sveaborg, rendered phonetically to Viapori in Finnish. The event name Viaporin Kekri comes from that term. Viaporin Kekri is a modern interpretation of old Finnish traditions and the program is inspired also by stories from Suomenlinna’s past.
Today, Suomenlinna is home to approximately 800 inhabitants. Suomenlinna is reached by ferry which operates every day of the year. There is a grocery, library, elementary school, kindergarten and church serving inhabitants in the fortress.
The coordinator of the event is The Governing Body of Suomenlinna, which is a government agency operating under the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Governing Body of Suomenlinna restores, maintains, administers and provides information about Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Governing Body of Suomenlinna also co-operates with educational institutions. Viaporin Kekri is a result of collaboration between Haaga-Helia’s students of bachelor’s degree programme in Hospitality, Tourism and Experience Management, the Governing Body of Suomenlinna and Suomenlinna’s service providers. Other partners are local and Helsinki based artists, communities and companies.
Follow us on social media to stay updated.