The power of perkele: From mythical god to curse word

Perkele is a well-known and powerful curse word in Finnish, used to express anger, frustration, or annoyance. But where did this word come from, and what is its significance in Finnish culture and language? Here are 8 insight to help you better understand the history, usage and power of perkele.

1. Perkele is related to Perkunas, the Baltic thunder god. Consequently, there' some debate about the connection between Perkele and the Finnish god Ukko who in Finnish mythology was also the god of thunder and lightning. Some scholars suggest that Perkele was another name for Ukko, while others argue that there is no evidence of such a connection.

2. Perkele has been demonized by Christians and used as a name for Satan in older Bible translations. Martti Haavio writes in his book "Suomalainen mytologia" that in Lithuanian mythology, Perkunas is "the lord of oak" and the thunder god, but in Finnish, Perkele is "the devil".

3. Not all scholars agree that Perkele is related to Ukko or other Finnic thunder gods. Ulla-Maija Forsberg argues that there is no trace of Perkele being connected to Finnic mythology and that its Estonian cousin, porgu, means hell rather than being related to Perkele.

4. In Karelia, a region in eastern Finland and Russia, the word perkele means an evil spirit and is used as a swear word, similar to how it is used in Finland.

5. Despite its origins in mythology and religion, perkele is not commonly used in a cultural or religious context in modern Finland. It is more commonly used as a swear word, similar to how English speakers might use words like "damn" or "hell".

6. Some scholars believe perkele has been a part of the Finnish language for over 3,000 years and is considered a word of power. It is used by people of different religious beliefs, including Christians, atheists, and neo-pagans.

7. Perkele is a versatile word that can be used in all 15 cases of Finnish, as well as to form adjectives and verbs. This makes it a very useful and expressive word in the Finnish language.

8. Perkele is often used to channel anger or determination, known as sisu in Finnish. It is a way of expressing strong emotions and can be used in a variety of different contexts and situations.

In short, perkele is a strong and powerful curse word that has a rich history in Finnish mythology and culture. It is commonly used to express anger or frustration, but can also be used in a more playful or humorous way. Its versatility in the Finnish language and its cultural significance make it an important and expressive word in Finnish society. 

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