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Church boats

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June Pelo writes on the Finlander Forum (November 13th, 2009):
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.

Videos

Part 1 of a documentary about church boats (kirkkovene), long rowing boats, which carried parishoners, sometimes really long distances, to Sunday service. The church boat was usually built and owned by many households together. The footage for this documentary was shot in 1938, but the commentary is from 1957. ENGLISH SUBTITLES (except for the poetry):

Part 2 of a documentary about church boats (fi: kirkkovene, sw:kyrkbåt), long rowing boats, which carried parishoners, sometimes really long distances, to Sunday service. The church boat was usually built and owned by many households together. The footage for this documentary was shot in 1938, but the commentary is from 1957.


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