Paivatar - Finland - Weaving and Spinning Goddesses

Paivatar – Finland – Goddess of Spinning, Weaving and the Sun


She was called ‘competent maid’ or ‘resplendent of the shaft-bow of the sky.’ The
spinning sun virgin who wove daylight from a rainbow arch.

batten, a heddle and a golden shuttle are her symbols. Spinning and weaving were
predominant activities, as every garment was spun by hand. Imagine how many hours it
took to spin enough thread to string a loom to weave a sail for an oceangoing boat!


Chapter 41

Tuo Kuutar, korea impi, neiti Päivätär pätevä

pitelivät pirtojansa, niisiänsä nostelivat,

kultakangasta kutoivat, hope’ista helskyttivät,

äärellä punaisen pilven, pitkän kaaren kannikalla.

Kunpa saivat kuullaksensa tuon sorean soiton äänen,

jo pääsi piosta pirta, suistui sukkula käestä,

katkesihe kultarihmat, helkähti hopeaniiet.

The worthy maid Paivatar
were holding their reeds

raising their heddles

weaving golden stuff

and jingling silver

on the rim of the red cloud

upon the long rainbow’s end;

when they got to hear

the sound of that fine music

the reed slipped out of their grasp

the shuttle dropped from their hand

the golden threads snapped

and the silver heddles clinked.

Translated by Keith Bosley

The Kalevala, Ch. 41

Oxford University Press, 1989

Open the best chest

slam the bright lid back:

inside are six golden belts

and seven blue skirts

all woven by Moon-daughter

finished off by Paivatar (Sun-daughter).

‘Long since, when I was a maid

and lived as a lass, I went

for berries in the forest

raspberries under the slope.

I heard Moon-daughter weaving

Paivatar (Sun-daughter) spinning

beside blue backwoods

at the edge of a sweet grove.

Translated by Keith Bosley

The Kalevala, Ch. 4

Oxford University Press, 1989



More passages from the Finnish epic, Kalevala.

Weaving / Spinning Goddesses


Kalevala Books

The Kalevala: Or Poems of the Kaleva District
Kalevala translation by Professor Francis Peabody Magoun

The Key to the Kalevala
UK:Key to the Kalevala

The Songs of Power: A Finnish Tale of Magic, Retold from the Kalevala (Ancient Fantasy)
For ages 10 and up: songs of the many adventures of favorite heroes: the mighty, magical men and women of ancient days.
UK:Songs of Power

Women of the Kalevala
Voices of the women of the Kalevala clamor to be heard. Wives, sisters, and daughters have their own stories, often more poignant than those of the men.

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This page last edited on July 27, 2013


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