Friday 7/30/21
FINNISH CULTURE

Tinanvalanta: the Finnish tradition to know how the next year will be

Before starting, you have to fill a bucket with about 7 litres of water and keep it near where you are going to melt the horseshoe.
molybdomancy  horseshoe-new-year-tinanvalanta-tin-by-Pablo-Morilla
These are some of the items needed to practice this ancient Finnish tradition. Photo: Pablo Morilla.

How will be the next year? According to the Finnish tradition, it is possible to know it by melting a horseshoe made out of tin. It is called molybdomancy (Tinanvalanta in Finnish) and it is typically done right after the year changes.

According to Pirjo Pohjolainen, Information Specialist of the JAMK University of Applied Sciences, this tradition came to Finland in the 18th century, but it was in the Ancient Greece where the future started to be predicted by this way.

Before starting, you have to fill a bucket with about 7 litres of water and keep it near where you are going to melt the horseshoe.Use a ladle to melt it, but try not to overheat it. As soon as the horseshoe has become completely liquid, pour it quickly into the water from 10 cm above.

Afterwards, the tin will be back to solid and it will acquire some kind of form that will indicate how the new year will be.

molybdomancy-tinanvalanta-horseshoe-tin-New-Year-by-Pablo-MorillaUse a ladle to melt the horseshoe. Photo: Pablo Morilla.

For example, getting a bird means that during the following 12 months you will be lucky and that you will travel. Meanwhile, a ring indicates marriage; a house, success in business; a heart, pleasure; a square, peace, etc.

Changes in materials

The horseshoes that are in use nowadays are slightly different from what Finns used a few years ago.

In 2017, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) informed that lead was going to be banned in this kind of products in the European Union. The reason: possible health issues.

Lead was the main metal used, so it had to be replaced with tin. Even though, when buying horseshoes it still contains a warning, as “inhaling molten metal fumes (…) is hazardous to your health”, so it is recommended to keep a good ventilation.

*Pablo Morilla is a journalist, author of the blog Michan en Finlandia.

Comments