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      Finnish heritage through poetry

      The Finnish American Heritage Center held a lecture on Kalevala (call-le-vah-la ) Wednesday. It's a collection of poetry based on tradition and mythology. A good crowd turned out to learn more about its role in Finnish identity.

      "Kalevala is so significant that there have been scholars who have written that if it weren't for the Kalevala, Finland wouldn't be an independent nation, and so it's a very important symbol of Finnish nationalism and Finland as a nation," said Dr. Carl Rahkonen.

      The lecture talked about how the old poems were sung and the influence Kalevala had on different composers. The Kantele (con-te-le) was also discussed. It's a traditional Finnish instrument made from wood and string. This lecture is just one of the many Heikinpiv events scheduled that will lead up to the main festival set for January 28.