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Hasse
13-11-09, 06:13
At the moment there are two videos on Youtube showing the usage of church boats (sw:kyrkbåt) in 1938. I have created a page on the renewed SFHS web site here (http://finlander.genealogia.fi/sfhswiki/index.php/Church_boats)

Copied from a page describing the phenomena:
"Church boat, "kirkkovene", is a traditional Finnish long rowing boat, which carried our ancestors almost every Sunday sometimes tremendously long distances to the holy mass.

The early model for the Finnish church boats was the large boats of Scandinavian Vikings. Since the Reformation in the seventeenth century, the maintaining of the boats was demanded by the Church. This explains the fact, that church boats were used almost everywhere in Finland. "

Hasse

June Pelo
13-11-09, 22:02
I remember reading about families using boats to get to church. I also seem to remember reading about families who had to travel a long distance to their parish church - and the distance was too great to travel to church and back in one day. As I recall, they traveled by horse and carriage. I don't recall where they slept overnight nor where they obtained meals? There was a stable at the church for the horses, but were there inns close by where the family slept and ate? Since the roads were primitive in some places, I can imagine that traveling was tedious, especially for young children. And winter travel must have been doubly bad - traveling by horse and sleigh over snowbound roads. There were no lights along the roads so the people had to travel in the dark because there wasn't much daylight during the winter months.

I know that there was a church in Gamlakarleby where the city people went to church, but everyone else living in Karleby parish had to go to Karleby parish church which was in the country in olden times. Fortunately my grandfather's family lived at Warg near Karleby church so they had no great distance to travel.

I wish there were more stories about life as it was lived in the late 1800s. I have one book about the parish villages, but it's in Swedish and very few people are ablel to read it.

kivinen1
13-11-09, 22:24
As long as there is snow, it isn't as dark as it could be.

Hasse
14-11-09, 14:11
Actually it would be nice to know how people travelled to their church. If you look in the communion books you see that the visits were frequent - actually mostly every Sunday. This combined with the facts that the roads weren't that good in old times - if there were any at all. Spring and Autumn meant bad roads.Winter time meant snow and ice. If you lived in the archipelago then the ices were often poor and traveling across ice areas was hazardous indeed.
Many of us have heard stories about horse and sled/carriage "competitions" when villagers went to the church, about the "church stables" near the churches etc. I remember being told that some families had relatives/friends along the long road to the church where they could even stay over night... In any case - a huge chunk of the Sunday was allocated to "attending church".
Can anybody tell some more about how people took care of the problems with long distances and the obligatory church attending?

June Pelo
14-11-09, 17:21
In his book "Finnish Folk Culture", Ilmar Talve writes this about church boats:

"Both in the islands and on the larger inland lakes people traveled to church in boats owned and maintained by church boat associations. These were most numerous in Satakunta, Häme, Savo and Karelia. The church boat associations consisted of a part of a village, a whole village or several small villages. The shares were distributed according to the number of pairs of oars. The boats usually had 7-15 pairs of oars, the biggest sometimes as many as 30. Such boats were about 40 meters long and could carry more than a hundred people. Usually the cooperative also had a joint boat house. When the steamers began to ply the inland waterways, the church boats vanished in the closing dcades of the 19th century, though a few remained in use until the 1920s. In the 16-17th centuries the peasants of Häme and Savo were obliged to build and maintain parish boats. The later church boat institution possibly sprang from this. See picture of church boats on their way home from church, Virrat, Satakunta.

Alice Finnerty
15-11-09, 02:06
Wow...This is very interesting....I hope we hear more..Thanks, Alice

socar
15-11-09, 06:26
You can read about the 2010 Sulkava long boat rowing competition here: http://www.wmrowing-sulkava.fi/index.html

Boats taking part in the competition are the long Sulkava long boats of 12 metres (also known as Viking boat, Big boat). Sulkava long boat was traditionally used in Finland in historic times to transport Finns to church. The boats, including the oars, are constructed out of wood. The crew consists of 14 rowers. The fastest Sulkava long boat crews can cover a journey of 60 kilometres in as little as 4 hours.

cdahlin
15-11-09, 13:50
I have been several times in Sulkava for the annual church boat race. It's a hard competition, sometimes with rain, storm and thunder. But a wonderful experience.

June Pelo
15-11-09, 17:30
You can read about the 2010 Sulkava long boat rowing competition here: http://www.wmrowing-sulkava.fi/index.html

Boats taking part in the competition are the long Sulkava long boats of 12 metres (also known as Viking boat, Big boat). Sulkava long boat was traditionally used in Finland in historic times to transport Finns to church. The boats, including the oars, are constructed out of wood. The crew consists of 14 rowers. The fastest Sulkava long boat crews can cover a journey of 60 kilometres in as little as 4 hours.

Carl,

I just wanted to say Hello - it's been several years since we've seen any posts from you. At least, not since Hurricane Charley!