View Full Version : Fattiggubbe/Poor Man

06-07-04, 22:39
Someone mentioned recently the Fattiggubbe/Vaivaisukko/Poor Man.

This was almost the only "social service" poor people could get in the olden days. Money boxes in the form of a sculpture were placed outside the churches. They were often made in the images of a legless veteran soldier. Churchgoers would throw a small coin into the Poor Man, and the church would distribute aid to the needing. Many of these Poor Men are still in place.

Here is a picture I took a few days ago outside the church in Pedersöre. I do not know how old this one is. But it was repaired in the late 1950ies or 1960ies. My uncle Gösta Portin made the wooden head. They would throw away the original head, but he took it and tidied it up and put it on the wall in his home.


06-07-04, 22:44
... and here is a picture of the text above the Poor Man. The Swedish text is old. I think it corresponds to how Swedish was written in the 17th century.

It translates:

"Put out thine hand to the poor so thou should be plentily blessed; because he who pities the poor lends to the Lord"


Karen Norwillo
06-07-04, 22:55
I saw that particular poorman when I was in Finland recently. I also have a photo of the one at Esse and Vörå. The history is fascinating. Glad they are preserving them. Karen

07-07-04, 18:49
Thank you for sharing this really interesting and fascinating custom. I enjoyed reading it.


June Pelo
07-07-04, 21:26
Here's Olle Pursiainen who travels around taking pictures of the Poor Men - this one is at Solf:


Kaj Granlund
12-07-04, 22:01
This particular poor man was repared some years ago. His predecessor is bigger and was even taken to Rome ( ! ) for an exhibition a couple of years ago. So he is just like all others travelling aorund... But he is to old and weak to stand outside all the year any more ;)