TOA/V: Bear Feast Polska

I love this version of the Bear Feast Polska by Rymäkkä. It captures the mythic heart of the song. ‘Karhunpeijaispolska’ is one of the first songs I learned to play on the kantele. I imagined cheery bears frolicking in the woods to the jaunty tune, which of course I figured out eventually had nothing to do with the lyrics.

The song is of course about the ritual of hunting and eating the bear. The song honours his sacred gift to the community. Bears are very important in the folklore and myths of Finland. Even today when you arrive at the airport in Helsinki, the signs outside are held in place by concrete bears.

I worked that into my noirish tale ‘Baltic Tango’ in Dream Book. It reunites two characters from À la Mort Subite who somewhat unexpectedly find themselves in Finland and have a hard time adjusting. They even hear the explanation of the Bear Feast over dinner one night. It’s important that the bear agrees to be sacrificed. To kill the bear when it’s unnecessary is a great crime again the living and all would suffer for it.

Besides, he has a good beer that’s perfect after a sauna.

2013-08-04 18.14.01Drop by Todd’s blog for more conventional TOA/V.


  1. realthog says:

    Good stuff! I confess that, in my myopic early-morning fugue, I initially read your header as Beer Fest Polska. I suppose this says something about my preoccupations . . .

    1. katelaity says:

      As you see, the two can easily be combined!

  2. Jose Ignacio says:

    For what it is worth I also read Beer Fest Polska,

    1. katelaity says:

      Hopefully it wasn’t a disappointment! 😉

      1. Jose Ignacio says:

        Not at all 🙂

  3. Todd Mason says:

    Now, normally, this would fall to the music roundup in a week or so…

    1. katelaity says:

      Well, I’ve never been good at following rules…

  4. Widdershins says:

    As a species we have separated ourselves so far from asking permission that sometimes I doubt we’ll ever see that shore again … but then, I see so many wonderful individuals reclaiming that Sacred Connection, and I have hope again.

    1. katelaity says:

      It’s a rite that keeps being reborn.

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