My country is celebrating 100 years of independence this year and we are also achieving marriage equality on the 1st of March. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our achievements as a nation than celebrating equality and human rights. Congratulations, Finland, may there be many more victories such as this and may your freedom last a thousand years!

(yes, the Finnish flag appears backwards because she’s waving it around)

Karhukalenteri / Bear calendar

Heinakuu / July

July bears know they’re a little bit late, but they’re on holiday so chill the fuck out. They’re not going to rush around just because you’re a slave to the capitalist industrial machine.


Queen Margrethe, King Carl Gustaf, Queen Silvia, King Harald, Queen Sonja, Finland’s President and First Lady Sauli Niinistö and Mrs Jenni Haukio, and Finlands President and First Lady Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson and Eliza Jean Reid are all in Finland to help Finland celebrate its 100 years of independence. 

Remember on St. Patrick’s

This year is the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

100 years since The Republic of Ireland began their proclamation of independence from The British Empire. 

100 years of Independence from oppression. 

In that time the British Empire tried to take our language, our people, our land. But The Irish are a strong, stubborn people who will never give up the fight. We held onto our culture, our dance, our land, our language, our Religion and our Celtic blood and traditions. 

People often assume that if you’re white, your people have never known discrimination. But the Irish have been stereotyped and outcasted for centuries for their refusal to submit and fall in line with the British Empire. That stereotyping even continues to this day. We are not Micks or Paddys. We are Irish. 

We do not Riverdance. Riverdancers Irish dance. 

My own Grandfather, an Irish Catholic in Northern Ireland, despite scoring one the highest test marks in his county in his school exams and receiving a scholarship, was denied higher education.

‘No dogs, no blacks, no Irish’ signs in windows were common in the UK (As seen above in the 1960s) until the Race Relations Act 1965 made such discrimination illegal.

They were starved out of their own homeland. During The Great Potato Famine 1845 – 1852. The British Government stood idly by, in possession of other food sources, as millions of Irish people were starved to death in what many now classify as a Genocide. 

So I ask this year when you think about St. Patrick’s Day, or even joining us in celebrating! You remember all those that gave their lives for the Freedom of their country.

You remember that it’s not a day to celebrate drinking. It’s a day to celebrate freedom! A day to celebrate that anything is possible if you only choose to fight for it. A celebration of strength and the ability to more forward! 

So I say to you  Erin go Bragh! 

P.S This is not an Anti-England rant. It is a pro-freedom rant. History is simply that, it’s history and one of my own Grandmothers is English. It is just some serious food for thought for many I hope. 

Every year the train fairly buzzes with bets, gold and dollar bills changing hands fast as lightning as the train pulls into Salem. Even the most cynical New York witch gets caught up in the fervent debate that rages through the compartments like a wild fire.

“I’m telling you. It was stone last year so this year it’ll be wood. Oooh, a log cabin!” 

“Oh come on, a log cabin? What is this, 1818? Please. I bet it’s a gigantic apartment. I heard we’ve got more students this year than ever before.” 

“Oh, gross, an apartment? I live in one of those normally, I don’t want to be there during the school year. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a big stone mansion like 1978 had.”

“Those lucky witches.” 

It’s a fight out of the door of the train, dozens of students falling over themselves as they run towards the enormous gates that are the only thing that ever remains the same at the Salem Witches Institute. They reach up to the sky and mark the boundary between the magical and the mundane. From outside, all you can see is a field – standing empty and ruined. That is, if you even make this far. America is huge and wild, even after so long. There will always be hidden pockets of wilderness tucked in among even its most urban states. American wizards don’t need magic to hide away their lands. They just need enough money to buy a good plot out in the middle of nowhere. And America is practically overrun with middle of nowheres.

The first look at their school is always a sacred moment for every Salem witch and wizard (contrary to the name, it has always been a co-ed school. Both men and women died in Salem after all). A moment of stillness as they regard their home before the year begins and they submerge themselves in spells and potions and all things magical.

You see, every year the Salem Witches Institute sheds its skin and begins anew. Bricks might fall out like old teeth as wooden planks push their way out or ivy might peel off like old snakeskin to reveal gleaming stone beneath. Its first year it was a crude log cabin with just one room for all five of its students. The next year, a wooden house stood in its place. The following year, a gorgeous creation of glass and gleaming metal welcomed dozens of students trickling in from all across America as word of this bizarre, wonderful school spread. In 1876, 100 years since America declared its independence, the Salem Witches Institute looked exactly like Hogwarts. Some students were outraged, some were touched, most were confused. But as its Headmistress pointed out, no one but the school could decide what it would look like from year to year. And besides, she said with a definite twinkle in her eye as she welcomed them in, wasn’t it important to remember where we came from so we can see how very far we have come since then?

The European schools tend to look down on the Institute. Even the oldest American school is but a babe in arms next to the Great Schools of ancient Europe. Hogwarts was founded in 990 AD. America wasn’t even discovered yet.

(Of course they forget that long before a white man ever set foot on their land, Native witches and wizards were casting their own spells and teaching their children magic in smoky wigwams or under the starry skies.) 

So, to them, the Institute’s changing nature is indicative of its youth. Like a teenager with a new hair cut every few weeks. It’ll settle down eventually, most European wizards agree indulgently. Everyone needs their rebellious period.

Salem witches and wizards just roll their eyes. Why on earth would you want to remain stagnant when the whole point of magic is change? Every Salem graduate knows, deep in their bones where their spark of magic resides, that magic is renewal and transformation and growth. They go out into the world knowing they can change it. 

(written and submitted by rainbowrites. Rainbowrites has a tremendous ability to capture the wondrous, that spark that made canon seem so significant, even as they depart from canon and create new worlds, explore schools and perspectives only mentioned in passing. I’m always pleased to how else they’ll challenge and play with perceptions of and within the wizarding world. ♥)

Karhukalenteri / Bear calendar

Where was the bear born?

Where was the beast made?

By the moon,

with the day,

on the shoulders of the Plough

Then lowered on silver chains,

let down on golden cords

In Finnish mythology the bear was believed to be of divine origin or an embodiment of the forefathers, and as such, deeply respected. So deep was this respect that even calling the bear by it’s real name (karhu) was a taboo. Mesikämmen (mead-paw), Otso, Kontio,  Metsän kultaomena (the golden apple of the forest), Nalle (teddy),  Metsän kuningas (king of the forest) are just some of the names that this enigmatic animal was given. If ever a bear was killed, a great feast had to be held in it’s honor, it’s skull to be taken way up a special pine tree and special spells to be said, to make sure it’s spirit would be born again to the forest. Still today you can see the bear everywhere in Finnish everyday life. It is not only our national animal, but we also drink Karhu beer, wear Karhu sneakers and our morning porridge is made with Nalle brand porridge oats. 

This year my dear home country is celebrating 100 years of independence. To mark this most wonderful occasion I’ve decided to do a little project involving our beloved national animal. At first I thought of painting/drawing hundred bears through out the year, but I soon realized that with work and everything else, I just simply do not have the time. So, my compromise is the Bear calendar. It’s exactly what it sounds like, one bear painting/drawing a month. Hope you enjoy!