Last May we wrote a blog introducing you to the Moomins (read it here). This blog is to tell you more about why we love Moomins and remind you that Moomins are a fun and unusual gift for the kids in your life. You can find Moomin products at Ingebretsen’s.
According to the Moomin website:
The character Moomintroll was born out of chance when Tove Jansson (the greater of The Moomins), on one childhood summer day, discussed literary philosophy with her brother Per Olov Jansson by the outhouse next to their summer cottage in the archipelago. Tove quoted Immanuel Kant, who Per Olov immediately downplayed. To get back at her brother, Tove drew the ugliest creature she could imagine on the outhouse wall. That drawing is the first glimpse of the Moomins, although Tove called it a Snork.
It was Tove’s uncle, with whom she stayed while studying in Stockholm in the 1930s, who came up with the name Moomintroll. Uncle Einar Hammarsten was a doctor and cautioned Tove against night eating. He tried to keep Tove away from pilfering food by scaring her with moo-oo-oomintrolls that lived in the cupboard. He said they pressed their cold noses against your leg and blew cold air down your neck. Her uncle also told her that these creatures lived behind the tile stove. Moomintroll was uncle Einar’s and Tove’s mutual joke, scary folklore creatures, that make themselves known through unpleasant sighs. In her journals, Tove used the name Moomintroll to describe things that felt dreadful or ghostlike.
Moomins have one of the most popular television shows in Europe and Asia. In one episode they discover Christmas:
Here are some things you may not know about Moomins (from 24 Things You May Not Know About The Moomins).
The first printed Moomin appeared in an anti-Hitler cartoon Jansson drew for satirical Finnish magazine Garm in 1938. She signed herself off with an angry Moomin.
Incidentally, Tove Jansson is pronounced “Tor-vay Yarn-son”.
Although Jansson was Finnish, The Moomins was originally written in Swedish. Jansson and her family were among the minority of Swedish-speaking Finns living in Finland.
The adventurous Moominpappa, with his top hat and seafaring nature, was based on Jansson’s storm-chasing father. Viktor Jansson was a sculptor who loved storms and fires. Whenever there was a fire in Helsinki, he would scoop up the children to go and watch it unfold.
The Moomins became so popular that you could read Moomin studies at Swedish universities in the 1950s.
The first Moomin TV series was the famous “fuzzy-felt” Moomins, which aired in the UK with this spooky but charming theme tune in the 1970s.
Janssen had both male and female romantic partners over the course of her life. Too-Ticky, the piratical tomboy, was based on Jansson’s life partner, the celebrated graphic designer Tuulikki Pietilä. Read more about Jansson and Pietilä here.
Moomin philosophy has been declared Dionysian rather than Apollonian.
Jansson rejected an offer from Walt Disney to buy up the Moomin brand.
The character of Toft, who appears in Moomin Valley in November, was based on Tove Jansson herself. Jansson wrote this final, slightly melancholy Moomin book in 1970, after the death of her mother. In the book, Toft visits the Moomin house only to find that no one is home. And no one comes home.
A theme park called Moomin World opened in Finland in 1993. Its attractions include the big blue Moomin House, the Hemulen’s house, Snufkin’s camp, and Moominpappa’s boat.
Jansson also built her own Moomin House. Tove Jansson built this Moomin House between 1976 and 1979 with Pentti Eskola and Tuulikki Pietilä. It is housed in the Tampere Art Museum in Finland.
There has been a Moomin opera and several Moomin plays.
Although the Moomins started life in the 1940s, they’re still going strong today. The movie Moomins on the Riviera was released in 2014.
So as we come up on the long winter months, take some advice from Snufkin (from the book Finn Family Momintroll):
“Don’t worry we shall have wonderful dreams, and when we wake up it’ll be spring.”