December is here already! I love the Finnish name for it: joulukuu.

Yesterday was a most memorable first day of this last month of the year. We attended a wonderful and heart warming memorial service for the mother of friends who had recently passed away at the good age of 90. Paula was a Finnish woman who had emigrated with husband and children at the same time as my family to Winnipeg, Manitoba, just on a different ship. Our families would meet in gatherings of the Finnish community.

The many connections are fascinating: in elementary school days my husband was friends with the eldest boy, and husband’s sister was a close friend of the eldest girl in high school and later. Many years later, I became friends with the youngest daughter when she moved to our neighbourhood here in Vancouver, and one of her daughters was a classmate of one of our girls. And we learned more: their mother was born in the same town as my father, brother and I, and their late father in the same region as my mother, and was possibly a distant cousin. It’s also amazing that almost all of us ended up later in British Columbia.

Most touching about this event was the honouring of their mother’s Finnish culture, with Finnish music such as that of Sibelius, a playing of the kantele, a recitation from the Kalevala accompanied by guitar music composed and played by the eldest son. It was wonderful to reconnect with some of the family we’d not seen for decades, and amazing to feel the pull of our Finnish roots in a joining of the hearts in a time of sorrow.

Added December 4th, 2012: I am slowly going through my almost nine years of archives, fixing various funky errors due to upgrades over the years. I came across this post about my own family’s immigration to Canada. What a coincidence.

December 2, 2012 in Canada and BC, Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric by Marja-Leena